Archive for Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bids for brick street, bike path projects in Lawrence come in below estimates

Federal stimulus dollars coming to Lawrence for construction projects may stretch further than the city first expected. The city projects were helped by lower-than-expected bids.

December 29, 2009


In their last meeting of the year, Lawrence city commissioners received a nice parting gift, courtesy of the federal stimulus and local contractors.

Commissioners on Tuesday morning approved two lower-than-expected bids for an East Lawrence brick street project and a West Lawrence hike and bike trail reconstruction. The lower bids mean City Hall leaders will be able to expand the projects because the bids were significantly less than the federal stimulus grants the city already has been awarded.

“We’ve been getting really good bids,” said Chuck Soules, director of the city’s Public Works Department.

Bids to return New York Street — from Ninth to 12th streets — to brick came in a full $400,000 less than what city engineers expected. City engineers had estimated the project would cost about $976,000 to complete, and the city already has been awarded $946,000 in federal stimulus dollars for the project. Instead, Lawrence-based R.D. Johnson Excavating submitted a low bid of $576,842 to build the project.

Commissioners at their weekly meeting expressed no interest in returning the unused stimulus dollars. Instead, project engineer David Cronin told commissioners in a memo that the department is now researching whether the excess money can be used to reconstruct brick sidewalks and stone curbs along the three-block stretch of street. The city is not required to provide any local matching dollars for the project.

Cronin, though, cautioned that some of the excess federal dollars may be needed to buy new bricks for the street, if city estimates are incorrect about how many of the existing bricks can be re-used.

Soules said the project is expected to begin in March, and is estimated to take about 120 working days to complete. He said the project is being designed so that all the work on the one-block section in front of New York Elementary will be done while school is out.

In a second project, bids to rebuild large portions of the hike-and-bike trail along Clinton Parkway came in nearly $135,000 less than the amount the city anticipated.

The city originally had planned to replace the existing asphalt path along the south side of Clinton Parkway from Inverness Drive to Kansas Highway 10, and on the north side of Clinton Parkway from K-10 to Lake Pointe Drive.

The city has been awarded $800,750 in federal stimulus funding for the project. In anticipation that the bids may be lower than the stimulus award, city engineers came up with two additions to the project. They are replacing the existing path:

• On the north side of Clinton Parkway from Hartford to Inverness.

• On the north side of Clinton Parkway from Kasold Drive to Lawrence Avenue.

Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved both of those additions, but the costs for those additions will put the pricetag for the total project about $68,000 more than the amount of federal stimulus dollars the city has received. Commissioners agreed that the additional money would be paid out of a city reserve fund.

R.D. Johnson was the low-bidder on that project as well.

The project not only will replace the existing paths, but also will make them larger. All of the existing paths currently are 8-foot-wide asphalt paths. The new paths will be 10-foot-wide concrete paths.

Soules estimated work on the paths would begin in March, and that the project could be completed in about 90 working days.


Uhjh 7 years, 11 months ago

Why is the City of Lawrence spending a half of million stimulus dollars for a three block brick street. It is ridicules. It is not the streets that add to the historic presence but the condition of the houses. If the residents what bricks let them pay for it. There has to be better places to use the stimulus than an ornamental street.

Kawatchi 7 years, 11 months ago

Ahhh the wonders of government. It would be ridiculous to have a project come in under cost and return the money to the taxpayers.

George_Braziller 7 years, 11 months ago

Brick streets aren't "ornamental" they are practical. If properly laid they can easily last a century without any maintenance. They also allow water to flow down into the soil rather than channel it all into the storm drains.

been_there 7 years, 11 months ago

If you left them at 8ft instead of 10ft you wouldn't need to spend $68,000 out of city reserve funds. Why do they need to be 10ft? How often do you see more than 2 people on the bike path at any one time? Come on guys. First you say we don't have any extra money than you say we do, make up your mind. Save it for snow removal, we could get a couple more blizzards you know.

cowboy 7 years, 11 months ago

Our city at work Spending a million dollars on brick paving on that section of NY street is like gold plating a turd.

spend the million and buy up about ten of those shacks and bulldoze the frigging things. Lets have some neighborhood renewal.

Mike Myers 7 years, 11 months ago

You said it Cowboy. Let's get them dozers a rollin'. While we're at it let's just bulldoze everything east of Mass. We'll show them poor hippies and disadvantaged folks who's boss won't we. We can build them some nice new little beige turds after we're done a-reckin. Yee-haw.

KsTwister 7 years, 11 months ago

So, how about returning to the government the extra???!!! What is wrong with this country?! Maybe that would put some money available to put people in this country back to work-elsewhere. Greedy.

Zachary Stoltenberg 7 years, 11 months ago

I wish they would redo New Jersey street with the extra money. That's where the bus route is and it's really bad. Almost bottom out my suspension at the intersections from the bubbled asphalt where the bus has to stop. It's only a block over, perhaps RD could do them both at the same time? Should be cheap!

leedavid 7 years, 11 months ago

The nation is broke, the state is broke, record home foreclosures, schools in trouble, and how does Lawrence respond? A half a million bucks on brick street project, to the same company Lawrence just threw hundreds of thousands of dollars in snow removal, R.D. Johnson Excavating. We are either a brick short of a full load or this is one heck of a snowjob. The way we are spending money with this one company sure does not sound right.

Write2Know 7 years, 11 months ago

The city should be worried about any bid that comes in 40% below expectations. Chances are the contractor is going to do a really bad job and the street will be falling apart in just a few years. Either that or the city has no idea what it costs to brick a street.

Tom Hilger 7 years, 11 months ago

Maybe, just maybe, the bids from the past were inflated, times being what they the contractor wants the business.

FrankG 7 years, 11 months ago

Kudo's to Lawrence! Brick streets are the ultimate in recyclable construction in this "Green" era.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 11 months ago

"Commissioners expressed no interest in returning the unused stimulus dollars."

This is the same as stealing. Return the extra money, City Commission!

been_there 7 years, 11 months ago

"This is the same as stealing. Return the extra money, City Commission" We should return it then call top news agencies so we can make it national news, talk about free publicity.

50YearResident 7 years, 11 months ago

How many brick streets has RD Johnson Co. rebuilt? My bet is none. When will the intersection on 2nd St in front of Johney's Tavern be completed? Isn't that project running over the time limit? Will these projects be finished without over cost estimate expenses?

leedavid 7 years, 11 months ago

Four blocks almost a half a million...yippie! We are going green baby! Get real people....I'm with 50 Year Resident. A lot of money is being tossed at RD Johnson and bricking that their thing?

OwlHead 7 years, 11 months ago

Toto, BEIGE TURDS!!! AWESOME! Maybe they could buy all their furniture at Nebraska Furniture Mart.!!! HAHAHAHAHA>

Seriously though, brick roads are awesome.

shepdog 7 years, 11 months ago

What happens when they blade the snow off these brick streets??

George_Braziller 7 years, 11 months ago

Nothing bad happens to brick when it's plowed. The blade just skims across the top like it was concrete. The major difference is that the bricks warm up faster than concrete or asphalt because the melting snow or ice goes down into the soil rather than just flow off and freeze again.

The red color of brick also helps absorb heat from the sun which speeds the process. There is a reason barns are usually painted a red color. Reds and oranges absorb and hold heat better than than black.

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