Improvements at Pearl and Royalton roads in Strongsville delayed due to high construction bids

November 20, 2018

Improvements at Pearl and Royalton roads in Strongsville delayed due to high construction bids

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – A plan to make the Pearl Road-Royalton Road intersection safer for pedestrians and cyclists has been delayed because bids for the project’s construction are too high.

Since August, City Council has rejected two rounds of bids, all of which have exceeded the engineer’s estimate by between 34 percent and 65 percent.

James Kilbane, Strongsville’s design engineer, said that under state law, the city must reject bids if they “substantially” exceed 10 percent of the engineer’s estimate.

The city has incrementally increased its estimate – from the original amount of $536,794 to the latest figure of $844,382, an increase of 57 percent – at the advice of engineering consultants Euthenics Inc. in Cleveland and TMS Engineers Inc. in Twinsburg. Still, the bids have been too high, and are even rising.

The city is now seeking bids for the third time. The bid opening is scheduled for Dec. 10 for a project the city had initially hoped to start building this past summer.

Strongsville isn’t the only city experiencing trouble with higher-than-expected bids for construction projects. In September, North Royalton delayed plans to build a park on the site of its former City Hall because bids for the work came in too high.

Kilbane and city Engineer Ken Mikula didn’t say why they believed bids for the Pearl-Royalton project topped estimates by such large amounts.

But Nancy Nozik – an architect with the firm Brandstetter Carroll Inc., which is designing the North Royalton park – said at least part of the problem is that business is booming for builders, allowing them to charge more.

North Royalton officials, like those in Strongsville, chose to rebid, although it’s not certain when. The city may wait a year or two, hoping construction prices will stabilize, although North Royalton officials acknowledged they will probably have to increase the park’s budget.

Builders’ market

In 2017, Strongsville won a $141,000 grant from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency for the Pearl-Royalton project. Improvements would include new countdown signals giving pedestrians more time to cross the busy intersection, and traffic islands where pedestrians can take refuge if they can’t cross in time.

The Pearl-Royalton improvements are part a larger Strongsville Town Center District Redevelopment Plan, completed by NOACA in 2015. The plan recommended improving pedestrian and biker safety by, among other measures, installing striped crosswalks and sloped curbs for the handicapped at several town-center intersections.

In June, the city hired DLZ Ohio Inc. for $55,829 to act as construction manager for the Pearl-Royalton project.

The city advertised for construction bids and received just one offer, from Perk Co. in Cleveland. Perk’s bid was $840,007, which was 56 percent over the estimate at the time of $536,794.

City Council rejected Perk’s bid, and the city raised its estimate to $684,012, according to bid documents. The city rebid the project and in October received offers from Perk, Fabrizi Trucking and Paving in Middleburg Heights, SET in Lowellville and Lockhart Concrete Co. in Akron.

The bids ranged from $917,539 to $1.1 million. Perk’s bid jumped to $952,267, an increase of 13 percent over its original August bid. The lowest bid exceeded the engineer’s estimate by 34 percent.

Earlier this month, council rejected all four bids, and the city again raised its estimate, this time to $844,382.

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