The Virginia Department of Transportation has opened price proposals for three major projects in the U.S. 29 corridor.
A team consisting of Lane Construction Corporation, Corman Construction and RK&K have submitted an offer to design and build three of the Route 29 Solutions projects for $116, 746, 000.
“VDOT will announce a notice of intent to award a contract as soon as possible,” said Don Silies in VDOT’s construction office during a live video stream of the bid openings.
The projects are a widening of U.S. 29 from Polo Grounds Road to Hollymead Town Center, the northern extension of Berkmar Drive and a grade separated interchange at Rio Road and U.S. 29.
The offer from the Skanska Branch Joint Venture was $160 million. That team had been awarded a contract to build the now-defunct Western Bypass.
The price offered by Shirley Contracting Company was nearly $188 million.
The total estimate for the three projects in VDOT’s Six Year Improvement Program is around $185 million, including engineering, right of way acquisition, and construction costs.
“The six-year plan estimates were developed in May of last year before we developed the concepts,” said Dave Covington. The agency calculated a confidential estimate after the projects became more detailed.
“When we compare the estimate to the low bid that was received, it is well within the acceptable range for the items the contractor is responsible,” he added.
For instance, VDOT will pay for any right of way that needs to be acquired, including temporary construction easements. The design-build team will pay for construction materials, labor and some of the projects’ engineering.
VDOT will not necessarily select the lowest bid. The proposals are also been evaluated on their technical merits.
“The technical proposals have been scored and those scores are confidential, only known to VDOT evaluators and an independent representative from VDOT’s procurement division,” said Philip Shucet, a former VDOT commissioner hired to oversee implementation of the Route29 Solutions projects.
Shucet said price will make up 70 percent of the selection criteria with the technical proposal making up the rest. The winner will be announced Jan. 26.
The plans submitted with the bids are all confidential until the Commonwealth Transportation Board awards a contract in February.
The three projects are not the only ones in the pipeline on U.S. 29.
Earlier this month VDOT awarded an $11.1 million contract to Fielder’s Choice Enterprises to add an additional lane and other improvements at the U.S. 29/250 interchange.
The City of Charlottesville has begun right of way acquisition for the extension of Hillsdale Drive. Construction on that parallel road is expected to begin in April 2016.
Money to conduct preliminary engineering for a grade-separated interchange at Hydraulic Road will not be appropriated until 2019, according to Shucet.
All of the projects received an infusion of funding last year when the Federal Highway Administration raised enough doubts about the bypass to lead state and local officials to withdraw their support. The money was transferred to these projects, as well as a second daily passenger train between Lynchburg and Washington.
The Route 29 Project Delivery Advisory Panel will meet Thursday at 2 p.m. at VDOT’s Center for Transportation Research.