Published Date Written by Michael KitchLACONIA — When the bids for reconstructing the Main Street bridge over the Winnipesaukee River were opened last week, city officials found themselves facing the choice of more than doubling their share of the cost or delaying the start of the project a year.
The eight bids, all within four-percent of one another, were approximately 35-percent above the estimate of $2.3-million prepared by Dubois & King, Inc., consulting engineers, with the lowest bid at $3.15-million. City Manager Scott Myers said that in addition to the construction budget there will be engineering and oversight costs.
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation, which had indicated that it would contribute 80-percent of the cost, informed city officials that because other pressure on funding for the state bridge program, its share would be capped at a flat dollar amount. Consequently, instead of the anticipated 80-percent, the DOT would contribute 60-percent, doubling the city's share from 20-percent to 40-percent, or from between $600,000 and $800,000 to between $1.5-million and $1.6-million.
Myers said that the city has until April 7 to accept the bid and begin work on the first phase of the project in April as scheduled or apply for federal funding, which would represent 80-percent of the cost of the project, and delay the start for a year. He said that the DOT administers the federal program and he expected a confirmation of the funding within two weeks.