Bend city councilors plan to reopen the discussion tonight about how to proceed with the Bridge Creek water supply project, which has an estimated total price tag of $68 million. City Manager Eric King has said the new pipeline and intake facility, which are only part of the project and have a price tag of approximately $20 million, will cost water ratepayers between 85 cents and $1.70 additionally each month, for a total of between $10.20 and $20.40 annually.
As of the end of January, the city had spent $14.7 million on the project, including for engineering, legal and archaeological services, according to city data. The city has an additional $24 million in outstanding purchase orders for work that has not yet been completed, but project manager Heidi Lansdowne said the city is only obligated to pay for work that has been completed.
“It's kind of on hold," Lansdowne said of the project. However, the city has proceeded with a new proposal that maintains the current cap on city water withdrawals from Bridge Creek. A previous plan would have allowed the city to take more water. The latest plan is going through a Forest Service environmental review.
Much of the money was spent on engineering and other work that must take place before construction. “This is the investment you have to make into engineering and permitting to build a project of this scope," Lansdowne said. For example, the city spent approximately $70,000 on an archaeological survey because the pipeline would cross federal lands. Lansdowne said the city saved money by sharing an archaeological team with Deschutes County, which had to complete similar work because it plans to reconstruct and widen Skyliners Road.