Council moves ahead on flood project

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Austin City Council is moving forward on a key piece of flood mitigation.

Council members approved Reiner Contracting Inc. to helm the North Main Flood Control project during a special session Wednesday morning. Reiner bid about $5.4 million for the project along the Cedar River, which is $30,000 more than the city’s project estimate.

Reiner previously worked on flood control projects in the city, according to Public Works Director Steven Lang.

The city needed to act fast on the North Main project to secure a $5 million grant from the Economic Development Association, which issued the grant in 2010. Austin has yet to receive the grant as the North Main project was held up by property acquisition and environmental contamination at the old Sinclair Gas Station site. City officials spent a year negotiating with Sinclair Gas Co. over the site before buying it this spring.

The city needs to submit remaining paperwork by Sept. 22, the three-year anniversary of the grant’s approval, in order to keep it.

Lang told the council the project would wrap up by July 2015, though there isn’t a firm start date for the flood control work.

Reiner will build flood walls from the Bellisio Foods plant to Interstate 90 on the west side of the Cedar. Another North Main Flood project will open for bid Thursday, Lang said.

City officials have completed more than half of the city’s flood mitigation projects over the past five years, from securing property in lower flood plains to building flood walls along the Cedar River.

Council members were pleased with the city’s quick action Wednesday.

“This is very important for us,” Council Member Janet Anderson said.

The city of Austin is also working on other flood mitigation projects. City officials have started to buy property along Turtle Creek and Dobbins Creek in order to start flood wall and berm projects, which would take place starting next summer and cost about $1.1 million.