PORT ANGELES — The City Council has awarded a $1.8 million contract for safety improvements on South Lincoln Street, including a new traffic signal at Lincoln and Third streets.
Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-July, Public Works and Utilities Director Thomas Hunter said Thursday.
The state-funded project will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety along the half-mile corridor between East First and Eighth streets in the heart of Port Angeles, city officials say.
It will include dedicated bike lanes, curb extensions with wheelchair-accessible ramps, pedestrian-activated flashing beacons at Fourth Street, a bus pullout and traffic signal at Third Street, new pedestrian signals at Fifth Street and new markings throughout the corridor, Hunter said.
The speed limit will be reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously awarded the construction contract to Interwest Construction, Inc. of Burlington, which has a local office in Sequim.
The bid from Interwest Construction was only bid the city received and was $430,028 above the engineer’s estimate.
Hunter attributed the lone high bid to a “significant increase” in the price of materials, a lack of local contractors with expertise for the scope of work and fluctuations in the bidding climate related to the reopening of the economy after COVID-19.
“One of the things that we really celebrated about this project is the amount of grant funding that we received from the state,” Hunter told the city council near the end of a meeting that adjourned at 10:49 p.m.
“Unfortunately, there are some things going on within the industry and supply lead times that have driven a lot of instability for contractors, especially of this type of work when it comes to lead times and material prices.”
Contractors around the state were “being conservative with their estimates” because of interruptions in the supply chain, Hunter said.
Hunter said the “ripple effects” of re-bidding the project could range from higher costs and delays for other city projects.
“I think it’s smart that we do this now,” Council member LaTrisha Suggs said.
“Costs are only expected to increase.”
The city received a $1.28 million grant from the state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for the Lincoln Street project and had $1.6 million available for construction, Hunter said.
The $244,044 overbid will be covered by savings from other transportation projects and excess real estate excise taxes collected in 2020, Hunter said in a council memo.
“I think it’s smart that we move forward, and I’m glad that city staff was creative in finding solutions to address the overbid,” Suggs said.
Hunter said there had been “multiple” fatal wrecks involving pedestrians along Lincoln Street in the past 10 years.
“WSDOT has also reviewed that (crash) information in concurrence with the need, which is why you see a $1.2 million grant award from them to improve the safety here from a multimodal perspective,” Hunter said.
Lincoln Street doubles as U.S. Highway 101 from Front Street to Lauridsen Boulevard.
Clallam County subcontractors Lakeside Industries, Clark Land Survey and Olympic Electric were included in the bid, Hunter said.
In related action Tuesday, the council unanimously approved an amended professional services agreement with Parametrix, Inc., to assist in the design and delivery of the Lincoln Street project.
The $195,962 contract amendment raised the not-to-exceed amount to $443,133.
“This project, because of the funding that’s associated with it and because of WSDOT’s involvement, we’re required from a staffing perspective to have 1.5 dedicated FTE (full-time-equivalent employees) to manage this project,” Hunter told the council.
“And so, because we don’t have that built into our current staffing capacity, and because this is a single project, we have to seek outside consultation.”
Parametrix is the same firm that designed the Lincoln Street project.
“It is likely that, if we were to go with somebody else, these costs would increase because they don’t have the project familiarity,” Hunter said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at email@example.com.