Bid comes in low for Oak Harbor water main project

The Oak Harbor City Council awarded a $443,211.21 contract to C. Johnson Construction, Inc. of Oak Harbor to construct a water line along Regatta Drive and Highway 20 from 16 Avenue north to Fakkema Road.

The winning bid came in at nearly half of City Engineer Eric Johnston’s estimate of $859,179.54. Three other island contractors also bid on the project, Premium Construction, SRV Construction and Krieg Construction, but C. Johnson, of Oak Harbor, offered the lowest price.

“Contractors are very, very aggressive in bidding these days,” Johnston said of the difference between his estimate and the winning bid.

Johnston based his estimate on the past three years’ data of water line installation history in Oak Harbor, during which the economy was much better.

Over the last year, Johnston has noticed several instances of project bids coming in under the estimated cost. The Goldie Road sewer project came in at half the estimate last spring, the Oak Harbor Street project came in $1 million under the estimate, and now the Regatta project has come in at just about half the cost.

Johnston said money for the water main extension is in the Water Division budget, which is included in the 2009-2010 Oak Harbor biennial budget. Funding for the water line is a combination of system development charges and revenues from water rates. The water line extension is necessary to provide water within the Oak Harbor city limits.

In addition to the 4-0 vote to approve the water main extension, the City Council also authorized Johnston to approve contract changes for no more than $45,000, or 10 percent of the total agreement. Council members Beth Munns and Danny Paggao were absent from the May 18 meeting and Scott Dudley recused himself from the vote due to a conflict of interest.

The city engineering division will cover construction inspection and management for the project, although the city will need to hire a licensed surveyor and a materials testing company to assist with construction management, he said. The surveyor and testing company will cost approximately $6,000 and $15,000, respectively, in addition to the contract with C. Johnson Construction.

Construction is expected to start June 1 and wrap up by mid-July. Work will take place during the day.

“The bulk of the work is outside the right of way,” Johnston said, so traffic will be mostly unaffected by the construction.

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