Transportation commissioners on Wednesday delayed a decision on whether to move forward with the Roop Street widening project, after questioning whether postponing the project would reduce costs.
Carson City received two proposals ranging from $7.5 million to more than $8.5 million for the project, originally estimated to cost $5 million. The increased price was attributed to the project's complexity, risk factors and a busy construction season.
Regional Transportation commissioners considered rejecting the bids outright and seeking contracts for the project in the fall when prices might drop. In the meantime, staff would try to rework the project to reduce costs. But Granite Construction, the lowest bidder for the project, told commissioners delaying the decision would not affect the price.
The company has the manpower and the capability to do the project, the representative said. Unless the scope of work was drastically reduced, he didn't foresee the bid price dropping.
Commissioners voted to bring the contracts back during the July meeting, giving staff time to evaluate whether the project could be made less complicated and less risky for contractors. The city has until August to award the bids before they expire.
"My guess is, we're not going to get it down to $5 million, but if get it we get it down to $6 million, we're way ahead," said Development Services Director Andrew Burnham, speaking to commissioners. "We need to kind of digest this and come back to you with recommendations as to how we change this."
Construction companies in Northern Nevada are facing a busy summer with several projects, including street work with the Carson City Freeway, improvements to highways 395 and 50 and a resurfacing of Stewart Street.
As the low bidder, Granite Construction priced the project at $7.2 million with an additional $336,000 contingency. A&K Earthmovers submitted a bid for $8.5 million.
One of the drivers behind the high price was the complexity of the project. Originally, the work only included widening the roadway and cost $3.8 million. The city added utility undergrounding work, sewer system replacements and road closures.
Capital Engineering, the city's project contractor, and city staff may look at ways to reduce costs by reworking items such as traffic-control issues.
The city risks a higher price tag if the project is rebid, Burnham said.
"I've been involved in projects where we've done this before and come back in with the same number or higher on occasion," he said. "You always have risks when doing projects by putting them off."
Supervisor Shelly Aldean said she changed her mind about rejecting the bids outright after hearing testimony Wednesday night.
"Let's give ourselves additional time to determine why bids were as high as they were and see if there's a way of bringing prices within striking distance of our budget," Aldean said.
Motorists already face a nightmarish road construction season beginning next month when the state begins resurfacing projects on Stewart Streets and highways 395 and 50 East. The Roop Street project delay might ease some traffic problems this summer.
"I think motorists would bless us if we rejected these bids and postponed this project," Aldean said.
Contact Jill Lufrano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.