After identifying $300,000 in cost reductions, Prairie Village will rebid 75th Street project

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The city of Prairie Village will again be soliciting construction bids for the project that would bring a long-overdue facelift to a deteriorating stretch of 75th Street after learning last month that its cost estimates for the project had been more than $1 million off.

The city council on Monday directed Public Works to work with the Kansas Department of Transportation and put the 75th Street renovation project out for bid. The project is eligible for $1.6 million in federal funds, but the city hadn’t budgeted enough money in its 2015 Capital Improvement Projects budget to cover its share of the total cost.

To reduce the project’s price tag in the wake of the revelations about the higher-than-expected bids, Public Works recommended that the city reduce the amount of pavement repair that will be done and also recommended that the planned asphalt overlay on the street be reduced in thickness from three inches to two inches.

“With the work WaterOne performed this year we were able to see the pavements condition and we feel the pavement is structurally sound and that a thinner wearing surface of 2 inches is adequate,” Public Works director Keith Bredehoeft wrote in a memo to the council.

Those two changes alone would reduce the budget gap for the project by $300,000, leaving the council with a $900,000 hole to fill. Bredehoeft had already suggested a number of moves the council could make to help fund the project, including using $500,000 in unspent funds from the city’s 2014 Capital Improvement Projects budget.

Representatives of George Butler and Associates, the company that produced the estimates that turned out to be $1.2 million off the low bid, were on hand to explain what they had learned about the variance in price after meeting with two of the contractors who bid the project. Senior Associate Cory Clark told the council that spiking concrete prices and increasing contractor workload were key factors in the contractors’ higher-than-expected bids. Additionally, the company’s estimates for the cost of earthwork and grading on the project appeared to have been nearly $500,000 below the low bidders’ projections.

“I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to tell you exactly where things were off there,” Clark said.