By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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Project Engineer Jerry Moore said the bid was $6.92 million less than the engineers' estimate of $33.99 million.
The state awarded the bid Wednesday.
“It's fantastic news,” said Moore, who will become the project lead when the contract is finalized in about three weeks.
Once completed in late 2014, motorists will have two lanes of travel in both directions on what is now a narrow, 3.5-mile stretch of highway between Port Angeles and Sequim.
Eastbound and westbound traffic will be separated by a 32-foot median, and left-hand turns onto the highway will be eschewed.
Scarsella Bros., which also built the Sequim bypass in 1999, submitted the lowest of nine formal bids that the state opened Nov. 7.
A total of 19 companies evaluated the project.
“These guys are known contractors,” Moore said of the bidders.
“They're going to start on Jan. 7. Nothing has changed there,” Moore said.
“Without any unforeseen issues, it should be done in two years.”
Crews will begin the long-awaited safety improvement project by constructing a new two-lane bridge over McDonald Creek adjacent to the existing highway.
Following that, excavation for the new lanes for the road will begin in earnest in April.
Later next year, the state will reroute traffic onto the new McDonald Creek bridge, tear down the existing bridge and put a second modern bridge — also two lanes — in its place.
The project will provide four lanes of travel for the entire length of the corridor between Clallam County's largest cities.
The awarded bid includes $430,100 for a pedestrian underpass at East Owl Creek near Kitchen-Dick Road.
A 130-foot-long pedestrian path will be placed inside a box culvert to provide Clallam Transit passengers with a safe crossing of the highway.
The Clallam Transit board committed a maximum of $500,000 in federal transportation grants to the underpass.
Clallam County is acting as the agent on behalf of Clallam Transit on the underpass.
The low construction bid reduces the total project cost from $67 million to just over $60 million.
“Contractors are hungry,” Moore said of the bidding climate.
“Right now, they are sharpening their pencils.”
The Scarsella Bros. bid includes $1.53 million for subcontractor Green City Inc. of Renton for landscaping and an unspecified amount to Northeast Electric LLC of Woodland for electrical work.
The second-lowest apparent bid was a $28.91 million from Guy F. Atkinson Construction LLC of Broomfield, Colo.
Tapani Inc. of Battle Ground had the third-lowest apparent bid of $29.67 million, according to the state DOT website.
Moore said he didn't know whether any local contractors were among those who submitted bids.
The highway widening project was prioritized by the state in a 1993 environmental impact statement.
Some county roads that connect to the highway will be raised or lowered to meet the new grade.
Short-term closures are planned in 2013 for Sherburne, Dryke, Kitchen-Dick, Shore, North Barr and Kirk roads. Dates for the closures, most of which will be for less than one week, have not been set.
Rather than turning left onto the highway from county roads or road-side businesses, motorists will instead turn right and use one of six new U-turns.
The highway between Port Angeles and Sequim will have two major construction projects under way in 2013.
Clallam County is gearing up to build a new road with a highway underpass near the Deer Park Cinema to eliminate left turns from Deer Park Road and Buchanan Drive.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.