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City Aims to Restart, Finish Bullhook Storm Drain Project ‘Before The Snow Flies’

City officials aim for Havre’s drawn-out Bullhook Storm Drain System project to restart and be complete this year.

Construction is set to resume in July and be finished “before the snow flies.” At least that’s the hope of Havre Public Works Director Dave Peterson.

Work on the critical drainage system started in 2016 after a series of problems with the largely underground system developed. Some of the work was completed in 2016, including fixing a hole so large people could see water flowing below. That forced closure of a block of Third Street.

But a great deal of the work remains.

Peterson said Tuesday that the city will contract with Lakeside Excavation Co. of Havre to complete the work. As soon as the paperwork is signed, Lakeside is ready to move forward with the long-delayed project, he said.

The drainage system flows from south of Havre, north through the city, mostly beneath the surface where city streets and private homes sit. It eventually drains into the Milk River.

The drainage system had its beginnings more than a century ago.

City officials had been concerned about the deteriorating condition of Bullhook, but were unable to find funding for the needed repairs. Then a series of heavy rains in the 2010s put more pressure on the system.

Kinkaid Civil Construction Co. of Mesa, Ariz., submitted the lowest bid for the project and began the work in 2016.

After taking a winter break, the company failed to return for work in the spring. Kinkaid blamed the city, contending  Havre had failed to pay them in a timely manner, making the project impractical for the company.

The matter went to arbitration, and the arbitrator ruled that Kinkaid, not the city, was responsible for the problems.

The bonding company, Guarantee Co. of North America, was to find a construction company to finish the project. But then Guarantee started dickering with the city, contending the city should pay some of the money for the replacement contractor, delaying the project further.

The city has decided to go ahead with Lakeside while negotiations continue with Guarantee.

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