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New York Power Authority Awards Contract for New Dike Design in Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area

Connie Cullen

May 20, 2008


WHITE PLAINS—The Trustees of the New York Power Authority (NYPA) today authorized a contract for the engineering and design of a new dike to be constructed within the Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area (WHWMA) at NYPA’s St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project.  The contract was awarded to Gomez and Sullivan, Engineers, P.C. (GSE) of Syracuse, in the amount of $435,000 and will run from June 1, 2008 through December 31, 2010.  

“The timely award of this contract shows the Power Authority’s continuing commitment to improving the Wilson Hill Wildlife Area which was made during the relicensing of the St. Lawrence project,” said Roger B. Kelley, NYPA president and chief executive officer.  “The redesign of the new dike became necessary due to the discovery of an asphalt-covered and submerged log road at the construction site which, upon examination, made the original design unsuitable.”   

On April 7, NYPA issued a request for proposals for engineering and design services for the new dike and associated work.  GSE was selected due to its proposal’s thorough treatment of all aspects of the work including superior familiarity with conditions along the St. Lawrence River, a comprehensive approach to performing the work and well-reviewed pricing.  

In June 2004, Shaw/Stone & Webster Engineering of NY, Inc. of Stoughton, Mass., was awarded the contract for the design of the WHWMA improvements, including the original design for the new dike.  The other improvements include refurbishing and improving the existing dikes and water control structures, and installing new water control structures.  After all improvements were designed, a contract was awarded in July 2007 to J. E. Sheehan Contractors, Inc. of Potsdam, for construction which began in August 2007.

When construction for the new dike began in September 2007 and deteriorated asphalt was removed from the submerged asphalt road, a previously unknown log road built in or before the 1860s was discovered.  Construction was halted pending discussion with the New York State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), archeological investigation of the log road, and review of engineering considerations for the new dike.   

While SHPO approved construction to resume in December 2007, the engineering review determined the logs compromised the principal purpose of the new dike, to create an impervious physical barrier between the East and West pools.  While it has been possible for construction to move forward on other aspects of the WHWMA improvements, the construction of the new dike could not proceed without a redesign that addressed this condition. 

Under NYPA’s procurement procedures, a new design contract was needed.  It was estimated the amount of work involved with the redesign would exceed the cost threshold for a change order to the original design contract.  In addition, the redesign was not considered an emergency and was a task that a number of qualified engineering firms could perform. 

    About NYPA:

■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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