By TESA GLASS
---- — MT. VERNON — Members of the Rend Lake Conservancy District Board have approved a bid for the installation of part of the pipe for the Rend Lake Bypass project.The District received a $1.8 million grant from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in January for the project, which will replace an 18-inch water main serving 39,000 people with 7,000 feet running under the surface of Rend Lake. The grant will pay up to 75 percent of the total project costs to construct a bypass in Franklin County, going from the water main in Whittington at Ewing Road, cutting east across private property to Connor Road, then north to Rescue Church Road, where the line will go east to Bean Road and north to County Line Road, where it will turn west to connect with the existing 16-inch main along Illinois Route 37 to supply Mt. Vernon and its customers, residential, commercial and municipal. "The bid we received does not include the 24-inch pipe," explained RLCD General Manager Keith Thomason. "And, it does not include pipe we already purchased. While we were waiting to hear about the grant, we purchased part of the pipe to take advantage of the prices before the cost of pipe went up."The project is still on track to begin construction May 1, with permits and easements obtained. The project is expected to take three to four months to complete. The apparent winning low bid on the project was to Kieffer Brother Construction, at $1,148,558. Thomason said the bid will have to be checked to be sure it complies with the scope of the project as specified in the bid request, however, at this time, it appears all bid specifications are in order.