On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the Highland City Council approved the construction and construction management contracts to complete long-awaited landscaping, lighting, sidewalk and other improvements on Boulder Avenue.
The construction contract was awarded to H & H Engineering, which submitted a bid of $3,386,524.95, and the construction management contract was awarded to TKE Engineering for a not-to-exceed amount of $535,761.
Federal grants and city development impact fees will fund construction of the project. The city obtained $1.443 million (42.63 percent of the construction cost) from a Federal Projects of National and Regional Significance (PNRS) grant, $264,500 (7.81 percent) from a AQMD Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) grant and $4,600 (0.14 percent) from a CalRecycle grant. The city will pay $1.673 million (49.42 percent) with development impact fee funds, including a MSRC matching funds grant.
The construction management contract is funded by a $392,119 (73.19 percent) Federal PNRS grant and $143,642 (26.81 percent) from city development impact fees.
The project includes median landscaping, street and bridge lighting, drainage, ADA ramps, trail entrances, a sound wall, pavement rehabilitation, bicycle detections systems, way finding signs and other miscellaneous improvements on Boulder from Highland Avenue to Greenspot Road.
The construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
According to City Engineer Carlos Zamano, the city has intended to do much of this work since the construction of the Boulder Avenue Bridge in 2012. (The bridge was built after the previous bridge collapsed during the 2010 flood.)
While the bridge was under construction, the city obtained a $2 million federal grant for lighting and street improvements to Boulder, from Base Line to Greenspot, that the city hoped to add as a change order to the bridge project, according to Zamano. Caltrans objected to a $2 million change order and required that the city make the additional improvements a stand-alone project. This meant the city had to re-appropriate the federal funding and begin the funding processes all over.
When reorganizing the improvements as a stand-alone project, the city expanded the scope of the project to include improvements on Boulder north of Base Line. Funding for the stand-alone project was completed in 2018, which began the preliminary engineering, design, environmental and right-of-way processes. The city advertised the project for bids in 2020.
H & H was the third lowest of nine bids accepted by city staff. A tenth bid was rejected as it included a major arithmetic error that caused the bid to exceed $22 million, well over the engineer’s estimate of $2.98 million.
Aramexx Construction submitted the lowest bid of $2.99 million, but this bid could not be accepted as it failed to meet the requirement that federally funded projects include 12 percent use of disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) subcontractors.
A $3.350 million bid from GMC Engineering could not be accepted because the bid listed two subcontractors for the same electrical work. Under this circumstance, public contract code prohibits the use of either subcontractor, and GMC Engineering informed the city that it could not do the electrical work itself.
With these bid issues, seven eligible bids remained. Zamano informed the city council that it had the option to re-advertise the project for bids but this would further delay the project.