A project to expand city sewer lines along U.S. 63/South Olive Street south of Interstate 530 saw more progress Monday as another contract for the project was approved.

A project to expand city sewer lines along U.S. 63/South Olive Street south of Interstate 530 saw more progress Monday as another contract for the project was approved.

The Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility Commission approved a low bid of $127,625 from Building Utility Contractors of Redfield to install the interceptor line for the project, PBWU manager Ken Johnson said after the meeting.

The interceptor line will connect the existing sewer lines with the ones being laid by the city of Pine Bluff under the guidance of its Economic and Community Development Department.

With the approval of the contract, PBWU is all ready to go with its portion of the project, Johnson said. The contractor will start work within the next 30 days and complete the project in 60 to 90 days, he said.

“We’re just glad to continue to participate in the development of Pine Bluff,” Johnson said. “Whether the result be growth in commercial and/or residential projects, we are providing service to that area and hopefully, accommodating the future growth of Pine Bluff. By putting in this interceptor line, we are standing by that endeavor.”

Tree clearing in preparation for the city’s portion of the project has already begun, Economic and Community Development Director Donald Sampson said Monday, adding that everything is on track and on schedule with that part of the construction, which is scheduled to be completed by October.

The Pine Bluff City Council approved in May the contract for the city’s portion of the project, which had been scaled down from the original plan from several years ago after some of the federal sources of funding fell victim to budget cuts.

The city’s contract is with H-Excavating Inc. of Star City for an estimated cost of $307,285.

“We want to encourage continued economic development and public health in what is a growing part of the city,” Sampson said in May after the contract was approved.

The funds were originally intended to be a match to a $492,000 federal Environmental Protection Agency earmark allocated to the city in 2008. In March 2011, the earmark was rescinded when Congress passed compromise legislation to fund the federal government through the 2011 fiscal year.

Despite the loss of the federal earmark, Sampson said in May that the sewer will be expanded as far as the remaining funds will allow. The project will focus on the west side of U.S. 63, he said.

The original scope of the project was to extend the sewer lines down to Ridgway Road. Design work has been done as far down as 73rd Avenue for possible future projects.

The Wastewater Utility Commission has known for several years that it would be participating in the project and therefore decided four years ago to set aside $160,000 to cover its portion of the project. Johnson said Monday that because the bid came in lower than that, much of the remaining funds can now be put to other uses.

“That’s good news. We will likely apply it to rehab [rehabilitating existing sewer lines]. One of our main jobs is maintenance,” Johnson said.