Works committee wants more information after project bids are higher than expected
Grafton officials are taking a closer look at a plan to illuminate the village’s Bridge Street dam after bids for the project came in higher than expected.
The Public Works Board last week tabled consideration of the project, which calls for the downtown landmark to be showcased in the glow of colored LED lights attached to the underside of the Bridge Street bridge.
The project, which will be privately funded, was estimated to cost $32,000. However, four bids received for the work ranged from $37,873 to $46,200 to install 16 lights that will illuminate the waterfall.
A second set of bids, ranging from $41,373 to $49,520, were obtained for another option: adding 16 lights to illuminate the waterfall and two lights mounted on the dam’s west overlook that would shine on water cascading from a pool installed as part of dam upgrades.
Public Works Director Dave Murphy said the original cost estimate was based on a preliminary design done by Milwaukee School of Engineering students and is believed to have called for only 12 lights.
“That may be why the estimate was lower” than the bids, he said.
The Works Board agreed to delay considering the project until it can clarify the original specifications in the MSOE design, Murphy said.
The dam illumination project has been spearheaded by the Public Arts Board, a seven-member committee that spent 18 months raising funds for the effort.
Established in 2010, the Arts Board has overseen a variety of projects designed to promote Grafton’s civic and cultural heritage. The board has raised more than $30,000 for the Art in Motion dam lighting project, which was approved last year by the Village Board with the stipulation that the effort be privately funded.
If the project cost is higher than expected, members will explore additional fundraising options, Arts Board Chairman Erin Blum said.
“I really believe that things will work out,” she said. “We’re thinking positive. We’ve had great community support.”
The Public Works Board is expected to discuss updated information on the project Monday, March 10. Rebidding the project is a possibility, officials said.
Although original plans called for the dam to be illuminated by underwater lights, it was determined that bridge-mounted fixtures would be less costly and have fewer problems. Conduits and electrical extensions to the bridge have been installed as part of dam repairs that began last summer and are scheduled to be completed this spring.
A Works Board recommendation is expected before the Village Board considers awarding a contract for the lighting project.