The engineering department in Orem did a lot of work in 2019. Now, as winter approaches, it is the design team that is taking over from the summer construction team as it prepares for new capital improvement projects for 2020.
Some of this past year’s projects include the Futsol court at Geneva Park, pickleball courts at Bonneville Park, the second phase of a water line project, sewer and storm drain improvements. Projects will run about $2.2 million before including roadwork.
“This last year we did quite a bit of work,” said Sam Kelly, city engineer. “We had the typical roadwork, slurry seals and the typical asphalt overlays, but the reconstruction was a bit bigger. We had about $2.5 million, a pretty significant amount. The 1200 West project took the biggest chunk of the money.”
The 1200 West project entailed a large street widening and lane configuration project.
Every year Kelly must report to the city and residents what has been done, and what has been spent in Capital Improvement Projects. The city council voted about four years ago to do projects pay-as-you-go on a seven-year rollout of projects.
Kelly said he still reports every year on issues coming up in the next five, even with the massive list of projects to be done in the next three years as part of the seven year plan.
“Estimating costs for inflation so we have adequate funding for projects has worked well,” Kelly said.
Sewer and water reclamation projects are typically $100,000 per year. This year, they totaled $800,000. The city planned for $1 million. The remaining money went back into the engineering coffers.
“These are enterprise monies and stay in the project,” Kelly said.
Kelly said there are projects they would like to get done but they have to bid when the pricing is best.
Tagg Bowen, engineering section manager, said he is already focusing on next summer. In just a month, the department will be presenting the new five-year CIP plan to the City Council.
“We’ll have five to six major projects,” Kelly said. “The earliest will start in March with the Geneva Park parking lot.”
Bowen said they are also trying to help with the library and fitness center construction. The library is expected to be done this summer with the fitness center in 2021.
There are many projects on which the engineers work with other departments. This year, that includes the resurfacing of the slide pool at the SCERA Park Pools.
“We help with lots of projects, not just roads,” Kelly said. “We helped with remodels and park fencing.”
Bowen added, “It is critical we have a good relationship with the public works department, communicating with them and meeting needs.”
Kelly said they have helped design and build the dog park, bike skills park and more. Their main goal is to make sure it’s safe and works properly.
“We’ve helped on everything from the all-abilities park to monument signs,” Kelly said. “Some of the stuff is out of our wheelhouse, but we do save the city money.”
As for the city staying on top of issues, Kelly wants taxpayers to know the engineering department has done well for the city, although there have been fee increases.
“We’ve done a pretty good job of keeping in front of infrastructure needs,” Kelly said. “We’ve had vision to raise fees to be able to give the proper level of service.”
Projects slated for next year include work on the sewer main replacement, water main replacement, storm water project in the Hillcrest area and a big street light project.
Engineering crews include three engineers under Bowen, a surveyor, two inspectors, a transportation position and currently two engineering openings available.
“The nicest part of our job is getting to see our projects from beginning to end,” Kelly said.