Sixty feet underground near Williams Intermediate School on North Division Street, this is what the inside of the Westside Diversion Tunnel project looks like. John DiPonio, project manager for Jay Dee Contractors Inc. of Livonia, Mich., right, talks to Davenport Public Works Director Mike Clarke about the completion of Phase II of the project during a hard-hat tour Monday. (Kevin E. Schmidt/QUAD-CITY TIMES)

Kevin E. Schmidt

Building a sewer line to a potential Davenport casino near the interstates 80 and 280 interchange could take up to three years and $12 million — although a timeline could be accelerated, aldermen heard Wednesday.

During a presentation to aldermen on the third phase of the westside diversion tunnel by Public Works director Mike Clarke, Mayor Bill Gluba asked about a sewer line to the potential casino site.

Estimated at about 4 1/2 miles, Clarke said the project could take 18 months to design and just as long to build at a price of $10 million to $12 million.

The proposed casino’s projected construction timeline is 22 months.

In designing a sewer line project, several factors, including topography and land ownership, have to be considered, so that possibly as many as six alternative plans could be developed.

City administrator Craig Malin told the council that if a $100 million development were to go into that northwest Davenport site, the city would call on the resources necessary to accelerate construction of a sewer line.

The third and final phase of the diversion tunnel is estimated at $6 million and won’t reach the depths of the second phase, which went as deep as 160 feet in places under the city. The third phase will go about 12-15 feet under Duck Creek and will close the bike path for a time.

Estimated at $33 million, the tunnel’s highly technical second phase is likely to cost less than $20 million. Alderman Nathan Brown, 1st Ward, asked if Clarke expected more bidders since the work is less specialized. Clarke said the third phase will involve excavation and pipe installation.

“We will see how favorable the bidding climate is,” Clarke said.

Alderman Ray Ambrose, 4th Ward, raised concerns about security around the project, with a trench 20 to 45 feet deep at times. Clarke said temporary 6-foot chain-link fence will be put up around the work.

Clarke also answered questions about snow and ice removal in residential areas, but mostly received praise and understanding from aldermen.

Clarke said heavy rain that turned to ice under snow followed by unfavorable temperatures for melting has made removal difficult. The average life expectancy of a road grader blade used to remove ice is about five hours.

Salt is being put down, but temperatures need to be in the 20s for it to be effective, so the cold temperatures haven’t helped in the removal process, Clarke explained.

Alderman Sheilia Burrage, 5th Ward, described her street as “an ice skating rink.”

“I hope everyone understands, the weather is causing the problems, not public works,” she said.

Clarke said that people with specific issues should call public works so they can be addressed.

Alderman Barney Barnhill, 7th Ward, said he has received some phone calls about clearing streets.

“Once you explain it, people were OK,” he said.

In other action, the council learned that budget meetings will begin Jan. 12.