Aldermen decide to rebid improvement project after lowest offer comes in well above $550,000 budget
As a crew from the Army Corps of Engineers is completing repairs to the steel cell section of the Port Washington breakwater, the Common Council on Tuesday took the rare step of rejecting bids for the next phase of improvements to the structure.
The city had received two bids for the work, with the low bid coming in at about $705,000, City Administrator Mark Grams said. The budget for the project was $550,000.
Grams said the city had its consultant, Foth Infrastructure and Environment, look at the plan to see how it could be altered to meet the city’s needs, but even after these changes the project was still about $56,000 over budget.
After consulting with City Attorney Eric Eberhardt, Grams said, the decision was made to rebid the project, redesigning as necessary before seeking the new bids.
“Hopefully we’ll get more bidders,” Grams said, noting two or three other contractors said they wanted to submit bids but could not meet the city’s time schedule for the work.
The city had hoped to start work on the gateway project in August, with work continuing through the remainder of the year.
Even with the rebidding, Grams said, officials hope that work on the gateway project, including construction of a fishing platform and facilities to make it handicapped accessible, can begin late this year.
The second phase of the gateway project, which includes improvements to the land surrounding the breakwater, is expected to be done next year.
Mayor Tom Mlada said that the delay will mean that pedestrians will be able to access the breakwater longer than expected this year.
Officials had expected that the breakwater would be open from July 4, when the current project wraps up, until the gateway project began in August.
Now, Mlada said, the breakwater will be open throughout August and at least into September.
The Army Corps crew currently working on the breakwater project has completed repairs to 11 of the 22 steel cells, Mlada said. The work should be completed in 10 to 12 days, as long as the weather holds.
“It’s exciting that it’s almost at a close,” he said, adding that the delay in the gateway project “will give people the chance to get out there and see the great job the Army Corps of Engineers has done.”
The Common Council on Tuesday also approved a grant application for the final phase of the breakwater project — repairing the structure from the steel cell section east to the lighthouse.
The city is seeking $2.4 million from the Harbor Assistance Grant Program for the work, which would be matched by a $600,000 contribution from the city.
The city has received a Harbor Assistance grant for the current work, Grams told aldermen.
The city is also seeking money from the Army Corps of Engineers to complete that portion of the project. Mlada sent a letter to the Corps of Engineers this spring asking it to contribute $2 million to $3 million to complete that work.