Pasco council OKs contract to build new road

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldMay 13, 2013 

The Pasco City Council unanimously approved a construction contract Monday to build a new road in a growing area of town, though the project will cost more than the city budgeted.

The one and three quarter mile construction of Powerline Road between Road 68 and Road 100, where only a dirt road now sits, will help take traffic off Road 68, which sees around 50,000 cars daily, said City Manager Gary Crutchfield.

The first phase, planned to cost $917,622, will consist of two lanes, with curbs and gutters on the south side of the right of way. The city eventually plans to make the road four lanes.

The contract with Big D's Construction of Pasco was the lowest of nine bids on the project, according to council's information packet. The second-lowest, Inland Asphalt Company of Richland, which bid $946,973, filed a protest notice with the city after the bidding. In a letter to the city, Inland Asphalt general manager Doug Migas claimed that Big D's bid was invalid because it didn't include an electrical subcontractor to build conduit pipe that eventually will connect street light wiring.

In response, City Engineer Michael Pawlek wrote that the city would go ahead with approving the contract with Big D's, and using a general contractor for installing lighting equipment was consistent with what the city has done in the past.

Since the city is considered a public utility, it isn't required to have an electrician included in the bids it accepts, Crutchfield said.

"If we agreed to that protest, it would have cost us $30,000 more," he said.

The city had budgeted the first phase of the Powerline Road project at $800,000.

"It's a guesstimate, when we bid," Crutchfield said. "We have funding for it."

While the project is more than the initial budget, Public Works Director Ahmad Qayoumi said it is under the engineer's estimate of $1.4 million. The city put off parts of the project in order to keep the cost down.

The city will get additional money from its traffic impact fees and arterial street funds.

The Powerline Road project was the only item on the agenda for a special meeting Monday, with the remainder of the evening dedicated to the council's regular workshop meeting. Crutchfield said the road project was too important to wait until next week's voting meeting.

Qayoumi expects construction on Powerline Road to start in June and take about four months to complete.

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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