Bridge bids come in above estimated cost

"We are very disappointed that the tenders have come in significantly above the estimate." ~ Mayor Mike Martin

Four million to $14 million is a pretty penny above the expected cost to build a new crossing in Trail.

But that’s what it’s going to take according to five bidders vying for the pedestrian/pipe bridge contract. Tenders came in last week with price tags ranging from $13.5 million to $24.3 million – which is nowhere near the city’s $10 million estimate.

The bids were a surprise to Trail Mayor Mike Martin, who says council now needs to consider options.

“First of all, what I would like to say is that we are very disappointed that the tenders have come in significantly above the estimate,” he told the Trail Times Monday.

The tender process remains in the hands of the city’s project manager, contract administrator and bridge engineering company.

“We’ve asked them to work through the tenders to find out where the significant differences lie and determine what options we might have going forward,” he added.

Martin expects council to review a preliminary report during the Aug. 17 Governance and Operations Committee meeting before any decisions are considered.

“We need to understand first of all why there is such a difference between what we believed was a very rigorous engineering estimate and the tender.”

The city recently updated the cost for the new bridge through Buckland and Taylor, a Vancouver-based bridge engineering firm.

“What caused the variation at this point, I can’t speculate,” Martin concluded. “We had a very solid engineering estimated so this all came as a bit of a surprise to us. At this point, we have to have the report and give council the opportunity to explore what options we might have going forward, and what sort of steps we may need to take.”

Of the five tenders, Calgary’s Graham Infrastructure came in the lowest at $13.5 million; PCL Construction, a North American/Australian company, $15 million; Vancouver-based Surespan Construction, $16.1 million; Nebraska-based Kiewit Infrastructure, $17.4 million; and Ruskin Construction from Prince George, $24.3 million.

The city got the okay from voters via referendum last August, allowing the municipality to borrow $5 million to build the walking portion of the Columbia River Utilities/Pedestrian Bridge.

Prior to the bids, which were made public Aug. 5, construction was expected to begin this fall.

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