If you plan on heading west on 26th Street during working hours in the next couple of months, be forewarned that you’re likely to run into sporadic lane reductions to accommodate a water main project that will extend from roughly Hainsworth Avenue to Lewe Court.

On Sept. 7, trustees voted 5-1 to award a $400,000 construction contract to Orland Park-based Riccio Construction, the lower of two companies submitting bids for the work.

Both bids came in higher than the village engineer’s estimate of $397,850, with Riccio bidding about $451,000. The only other bid, from Trine Construction, came in at nearly $612,000.

Trustee Marybelle Mandel, who cast the lone vote against the contract, suggested the village board reject both bids and seek new ones, but Village Administrator Sue Scarpiniti said it was doubtful bids would be more competitive, since six firms picked up the village’s bid packet and just two returned bids.

In addition, seeking bids at this point would delay construction to the point that the work might not be able to be completed before cold weather set in. Village Attorney Kevin Kearney added that because half of the project is being funded by a federal Community Development Block Grant, the project must be done in the calendar year the grant was awarded.

In order to keep the project within the $400,000 budget set by the village, the scope of work was reduced.

What may have driven some bidders away is that, for water main work, the North Riverside project is not typical. Instead of installing a new water main, the village is actually switching about two dozen water service lines from an old 8-inch main under the north half of 26th Street to a newer 12-inch water main located under the north sidewalk.

The 8-inch main is approximately 80 to 90 years old, according to Public Works Director Tim Kutt and has been a maintenance problem. The 12-inch main is probably 40 to 50 years old.

Work is tentatively scheduled to begin Sept. 27, said Kutt, and will impact westbound traffic and the north sidewalk during the eight weeks of construction. Sidewalk squares will need to be removed and replaced where service lines from properties will connect to the 12-inch water main. The service lines running from the 8-inch main will then be sealed and abandoned in place.

“We’re trying to minimize the time people will be without water,” Kutt said.

Kutt said he expects rolling lane closures in the westbound curb lane along 26th Street as crews move from service line to service line along the main.

Workers will also need to cut several holes into the roadway in order to cap valves where the 8-inch main connects to north/south water mains for residential side streets. At the end of the project workers will also need to open small sections of 26th Street to cap each end of the 8-inch main before abandoning it in place.