Apollo Construction of Kennewick will build the Duportail Bridge after a Benton County judge rejected a rival bidder’s complaints about how it accounts for disadvantaged businesses.
The Richland City Council on Tuesday awarded the contract for the Yakima River crossing to Apollo — the lowest of nine bidders for the lucrative project.
The council voted hire Apollo as part of the consent calendar during the first meeting of the year.
It had planned to do so in December, but N.A. Degerstrom Inc. of Spokane, the second-lowest bidder sued, arguing Apollo’s bid should be dismissed.
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Judge Jackie Shea Brown signed a temporary restraining order that prevented the city from signing the contract.
The two sides argued the issue on Dec. 29, and Judge Alex Ekstrom denied N.A. Degerstrom’s motion and lifted the injunction, setting the stage for the council to complete the deal this week.
Apollo was the low bidder, offering to build the bridge, approaches and related structures for $25 million — about $3 million less than the city engineer’s estimate.
Degerstrom first objected to the bid Dec. 5, when city officials opened the proposals from would-be contractors. The state transportation department reviewed the issue and disagreed.
Apollo’s lower-than-expected price could pay off handsomely for Richland car owners.
The council voted in 2017 to levy a $20 car tab fee on about 40,000 vehicles registered in the city to raise money for the bridge and for pavement work throughout the city.
The $20 fee was predicated on the city needing to raise about $4 million to supplement state and federal grants paying for the project, which will cost $38 million in total.
The city lowered its cost to $1.66 million. Mayor Bob Thompson suggested the low bid could mean the city won’t have to issue bonds for the last piece of the funding package.
That could mean lowering the $20 car tab fee to a lesser amount, possibly in 2019.
Apollo is expected to begin staging the construction site in February.
The project includes all bridge-related construction, utilities, retaining walls, redirecting overhead power lines into conduit and a new water line to secure service to south Richland.
The bridge is scheduled to open in 2020 and provide a new transportation link between the Queensgate district and the downtown core. It is part of a long-standing transportation plan to relieve congestion and accommodate future growth.