Construction bids were opened Wednesday afternoon for a long-awaited streetscape project in downtown Mount Airy, but it was not immediately known if the numbers revealed will come under a $300,000 ceiling set by officials.
“It’s close,” City Engineer Mitch Williams said after three proposals from local contracting firms for work on Market Street were unsealed at public works headquarters on East Pine Street as company representatives watched.
All three bids were within $11,000 of each other. PCS submitted the apparent low base bid of $265,400, edging out Colt Simmons Construction’s $267,188 proposal. The offer from the third bidder, J.G. Coram Co., was for $276,145.
“My reaction is they were where we were expecting,” Williams said of the levels reflected by the figures submitted.
Williams has been heavily involved in the Market Street project planned by the city government since March 2016, which hit a roadblock this year as officials debated the cost, scope and need for the work targeting a 400-foot street.
Market Street is viewed as a key tourist destination due to beer and other businesses recently opening there, and also is strategically located between North Main Street in the heart of downtown and the former Spencer’s industrial property now being redeveloped.
Plans for the makeover include such features as truncated domes, removable decorative bollards to close the street for festivals and other special events, stamped asphalt crosswalks, brick paver banding, 6-inch “Mount Airy granite” curbing, a scored concrete sidewalk and others. Work also is needed to correct drainage and rough pavement problems.
The project had been sent out for bids once before, with the low proposal submitted during the winter by Sowers Construction Co., also a local firm. However, delays by the city commissioners in making a decision to proceed with the project exceeded a date for Sowers’ proposal to remain on the table, and the company moved on to other jobs.
Meanwhile, the commissioners recently decided to commit up to $300,000 for the Market Street project.
In addition to the base construction work the three companies bid on this month, it will include decorative lighting installed by Duke Energy costing $60,000, along with landscaping ($10,000) and other tasks to be performed by municipal crews. That will include removing an old concrete street underneath the present Market Street surface.
The $265,400 low bid revealed Wednesday afternoon exceeds the earlier base proposal from Sowers of $232,025, and an updated estimate presented by city public works staffers earlier this month, $214,756.
But Williams explained that the project now on the table differs from the original plans, including the elimination of some walls and the addition of asphalt and storm drain work.
He said the numbers will be tweaked ahead of a city commissioners meeting on July 20, when the awarding of the contract for the Market Street project is to be on the agenda. “I need to evaluate the numbers and see where we’re at,” Williams said.
“The city may wind up participating and doing the granite curbing,” the engineer said of additional work by its crews now covered in the base bid.
“Even these numbers could come down some,” Williams said regarding the low proposal received.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.