Written by MARK JAEGER and MICHAEL LoCICERO
Wednesday, 04 June 2014 18:25
Plan to push repaving this summer dropped after utility cost deemed too high
Plans to put the reconstruction of Fredonia Avenue on the fast track hit a crucial roadblock when the Ozaukee County Public Works Committee rejected bids for the project at its last meeting.
Work was scheduled to start this month, but officials said a late bid change is all but certain to push the entire road project off to next year.
The road reconstruction is being coordinated by the county because the road is also county highways A and H. The village is picking up a share of the costs for the repaving and all of the related underground sewer and water work.
Bids received from four contractors ranged from $2.8 million by PTS Contractors to $3.6 million by Jossart Brothers.
Of that low total, county officials estimated about $1.4 million would go toward paving work. The rest of the cost would cover sewer and water main installations, sidewalk replacement and other village improvements.
At the request of the village, all of the work was included in the bids. After reviewing the costs, village officials felt the utility work was significantly more expensive than anticipated.
The utility component of the project — including the installation of new sewer laterals and water mains — was expected to cost about $750,000.
When village officials became doubtful that the benefit from the sanitary sewer work would be worth the expense, they asked that the utility work be dropped from the bid.
County Corporation Counsel Rhonda Gorden told the county’s Public Works Committee that approving a bid with such a dramatic change would probably violate the state’s public bidding law and make the entire quote invalid.
“We can’t just cut out 25% of the estimated contract,” County Highway Commissioner Bob Dreblow said.
On the recommendation of Gorden, the committee unanimously rejected the four bids and agreed to rebid the project without the utility work.
That action virtually guarantees that the road reconstruction will not be done this year.
Fredonia Public Works Director Roger Strohm did not fight the county’s decision, acknowledging that rebidding the project for a late start this year made little sense.
“We do not want two summers of construction,” Strohm said. “The more we think about it, the best thing is to wait until next year and rebid.
“We can do a January bid and remove the sanitary sewer laterals. We can’t reasonably guarantee that we’ll have construction done this year if we try to rebid it this year.”
Village officials were hopeful of getting most of the road reconstruction — from Highland Drive to Edmaro Street — completed this year.