It will cost at least $2.4 million for Portland to run a new Meridian Street storm sewer line in an effort to mitigate downtown flooding.

Portland clerk-treasurer Lori Phillips opened bids for the project Thursday afternoon in city council chambers at Portland Fire Station, with two companies vying for the project.

Watson Excavating of Redkey had the lower of the base bids, coming in at $2.42 million. Brackney Excavating of Brookville turned in a base bid of $2.77 million.

Both companies also provided bids for an alternate part of the project, which would involve removing an unused line from under Meridian Street. Brackney had the lower bid for that portion of the work at $353,200 while Watson came in at $457,365.

Portland Board of Works is expected to award the project at its June 2 meeting.

The base of the project, originally proposed by Wessler Engineering in March 2021, involves adding about 2,000 feet of new sewer line — it would be 36 inches in diameter and expand to 42 inches — running below Meridian Street from between Arch and Race streets to the Samalonie River. Most of the catch basins that are currently connected to Millers Branch, which gets overloaded in heavy rain events and has frequently backed up in the past causing flooding issues in the downtown area, would be shifted to the new line.

Flap gates would be installed on the new line in order to stop water from backing up through the catch basins.

The project is designed to eliminate problems during what is referred to as a “10-year-flood.”

The project was originally proposed at a cost of about $1.3 million. As construction costs have gone up, the most recent estimate for the project provided at a city council meeting in March was $2.62 million, including engineering costs and other contingencies.

A total of $2.49 million has been committed toward the work thus far. Portland City Council in March allocating all of the city’s $1.355 million in federal coronavirus relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The city also received a $780,450 State Transportation and Stormwater Grant from the State Water Infrastructure Fund and its redevelopment commission has approved $350,000 for the project.