Brownwood City Council members awarded a bid Tuesday of just under $1.8 million to Whitewater Construction of Waco to replace 3 1/2 miles of downtown water mains.

The contract is the largest and possibly the last of the Texas Water Development Board-funded projects in Phase II of water improvement projects, council members were told. The city repays water development board loans with certificates of deposits, city officials have said.

The project will start on Melwood at the intersection of Coleman and continue east to the downtown area, and cross Main Street at Baker toward the courthouse. It will replace most of the mains between Main and Washington and Austin and Baker.

The project will replace some of the oldest water infrastructure in the city. It will increase fire protection to the fire zone, improve water quality, reduce water leaks and allow rehabilitation of downtown streets, council members were told.

In other business, council members:

Awarded a bid to G3 Drilling and Blasting of Burleson for $1.56 per square yard for blasting a portion of the Cell 11 excavation area at the landfill. Approved on second and third readings an ordinance to change classification of 2400 Austin Ave. from R-1 (Single Family Residential) to C-1 (Local Business District) to allow an existing home to be used as a duplex. Held a public hearing, then passed on first reading an ordinance to close an alley adjacent to 1401 Main St. Approved a variance to the sign ordinance to relocate a billboard at 210 W. Commerce 50 feet to the west. The proposed development of a Walgreen’s and Arby’s requires the billboard to be moved, council members were told. Authorized the Public Works Department to declare the 1998 tarp-o-matic cover machine surplus property and sold. Awarded a bid to Big Country Water Works of Brownwood for $47,504 for the purchase of 8-inch and 10-inch sewer pipe. Ratified Mayor Bert Massey’s appointment of Floyd Muller to the Zoning Board of Adjustments.