MANCHESTER -- Town officials announced the town has awarded the contract for the long awaited Roundabout project to a construction firm based in Ballston Spa, N.Y. during Tuesday night’s Select Board meeting.
W.M. Schultz Construction, the company from Ballston Spa, N.Y., came in with a bid that was more than $550,000 under than the other finalist, Markowski Excavating Inc., which is based in Florence, Vt. Planning Director and Zoning Administrator Lee Krohn said that while somewhere between 10 and 12 companies showed interest in the project, only two - Schultz Construction and Markowski Excavating Inc. -- submitted bids.
"The two bids were roughly half a million dollars apart. We have been authorized to award that bid to Shultz Construction of Ballston Spa and we have informed them of that," said Krohn. "Our engineer reviewed the bids very, very carefully. The final bid price is actually slightly lower than the bid by the contractor because our engineer found a few changes and computations in quantities and costs of materials that brought that cost down $100,000."
The two companies submitted bids earlier this month and W.M. Schultz Construction was the low bidder coming in at $4,706,029.50. Markowski Excavating Inc. bid $5,267,048.89.
Krohn said that both bids were over the construction estimates prepared by their engineer, which was $4,645,979.50. However, Public Information Officer for the Roundabout Project, Tricia Hayes said there was not a shortfall that would result in a cost burden to residents.
Part of the reason that only two companies submitted bids was due to the fact that many of them were from the South Burlington or Williston area and the requirement that all equipment had to be cleaned up at the end of each work day, according to previous reports.
While the project was expected to break ground on May 1, Hayes indicated that may not be the case.
"We have to go into a pre-construction meeting to determine that and how work is going to progress," said Hayes.
In the meeting on Tuesday evening, Krohn said the Roundabout project had gone from a one dimensional road project to being a three dimensional project involving the backlotting and burying of utilities.
The project is divided into several phases the first of which, Hayes said, involved the backlotting of utilities. Some of that work has already begun at the Yves Delorme building. Hayes said the utility poles had to be moved out of the way before the ground could be dug up to allow the water and sewer work to begin.
Krohn said that the town would keep the community informed each step of the way, but that the project was "ready to launch for real."
Executive Director of the Manchester and the Mountains Regional Chamber of Commerce, Berta Maginniss, said some Chamber members were pleased that the town decided to create a public information officer position.
Maginniss said she has also not heard any specific concerns voiced by businesses that belonged to the Chamber.
"I think everybody in the community realizes to make this kind of progress it also comes with ... difficult times," she said. "I think everyone is pleased it’s going forward. Now we have real progress in sight."
The Roundabout project has been long-awaited, with discussions and work on the project going back 15 years.
"This has been a long time coming and it’s pretty exciting to see it [all happening]," said Select Board Chair Ivan Beattie.
The project is expected to take 18 months to complete with the projected end date scheduled for Nov. 15, 2013 if not before, according to previous reports.
In a previous interview with Manchester Town Manager John O’Keefe, he said that most of the disruptive work on the roundabout will be conducted at night with working hours extending from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m.
The Roundabout Project was expected to begin in the late summer or early fall last year but was delayed because the town was waiting for approved utility agreements from the four companies involved in performing the backlotting and burying of utilities.
In October of 2010 the town reached an agreement with the owner of Vanderbilt Properties, Ben Hauben, on compensation for rights and easements that essentially cleared the way to start construction of the project in the spring 2011.
The bulk of the project will be federally funded. The rest of the project will be funded through town funds from the Capital Improvement Reserve and Contingency Fund -- formerly known as the UDAG (Urban Development Action Grant) Fund -- and the Junction Fund.