The city has received two bids on a project to add an eighth rowing lane at the Oak Ridge Marina, and both were significantly higher than what city officials were prepared to spend. So, the Oak Ridge City Council will consider rejecting the two bids during its meeting tonight (Monday, June 13).
The city has received a $250,000 state grant for the proposed eighth lane. The city planned to contribute $150,000, and City Manager Mark Watson had solicited more money from other agencies that would benefit from the rowing course improvements. That meant there was enough money available to fund a project of about $560,000, which is close to a targeted estimate that Watson gave City Council members in March.
But since then, the city has received two bids. The high bid of $2.14 million was from Wright Brothers Construction. The low bid of $1.74 million was from Simpson Construction.
Both bids are “totally out of line with projected estimates,” Watson said in a June 8 memo to City Council.
“As can be seen, the budget does not coincide with the actual bid proposals,” Watson said.
For now, all work on the project has been halted until officials can reassess its feasibility, the city manager said.
In August, the city hired Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, and Cannon Inc. for design and survey work, among other tasks.
In a June 7 letter to Watson, BWSC said it did not recommend accepting the low bid, which did not include some additional cost for pre-drilling.
“Based on the limited number of bids, the bid variance, and our understanding of available city funds for the project, BWSC does not recommend acceptance of the bid,” the letter said.
BWSC has reviewed the plans and developed a new concept for the project that will allow for a significant cost reduction, the letter said.
“At the city’s request, BWSC will develop this design and assist the city with the rebidding of the project,” the letter said.
Watson said he will work with Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Director Jon Hetrick to determine whether the project is to move forward “and any details associated with the state funding for the project.”
The eighth lane has been on the wish list of rowers and many local officials for years. They say it would allow the Oak Ridge Rowing Association to compete for bigger races and international regattas, which require an eighth lane. It would also keep the site a top-tier rowing venue and provide more on-water capacity, allowing more competitors in events. It’s also expected to significantly increase the economic impact of rowing races, or regattas.
Officials announced the $250,000 state grant for the eighth lane in April 2015.
The Oak Ridge City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. Also on the agenda is the adoption of the municipal budget on second and final reading, and a resolution related to the possible transfer of federal property at the American Museum of Science and Energy to help Main Street Oak Ridge, the project to redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall. See the agenda here.
See previous story here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Copyright 2016 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.