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Fort Madison Water Plant Progressing

Fort Madison, IA – The price tag on Fort Madison's new water treatment plant appears to be dropping.

The Fort Madison City Council has awarded the construction contract to Knutson Construction Services out of Iowa City. A pre-construction meeting has already taken place.

Fort Madison City Manager Byron Smith says the winning bid of roughly $10.25-million was around $4-million less than engineering estimates. He says the five bids were in a similar range so the city is confident in the winning bid.

"We feel it is probably because of the economic situation," says Smith, "the contractors are very hungry for work and they have some very favorable prices for fuel, concrete, and steel at this time."

The bid for digging the water treatment plant's wells also came in under initial estimates.

Smith says the project should take 12-15 months to complete. The plant will be built along Highway 61, between Fort Madison and Montrose.

Smith says the construction timeline will not impact the city's plan to provide water for the Lee County Jail.

Land Price Set
A lengthy legal battle over the site of Fort Madison's new water plant has been resolved.

City Manager Byron Smith says Fort Madison has reached an agreement with Montrose Farms Incorporated on the purchase price of about $4,300 for roughly 120 acres of land along Highway 61. The total price tag would be about $500,000.

The two sides have been trying to settle on a price for the land for several years. The case was scheduled to return to court next month.

Smith says a special panel set the price at $5,000/acre after the city condemned the property. Both sides appealed as Fort Madison felt it was too high while Montrose Farms Incorporated felt it was not enough money.