Council will be presented with 2 Main Street bridge plans: rebuild now & pay more or wait a year & save $600k

LACONIA — After learning that the cost of reconstructing the Main Street Bridge will exceed the estimate and the state will contribute less than anticipated, the City Council will consider two options for pursuing the project when it meets on Monday.
Earlier this month, City Manager Scott Myers told councilors that the lowest bid for the work was $3.15-million, $850,000 more than the estimate of $2.3-million, which did not include the cost of engineering and overseeing the project. Moreover, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT), which was expected to contribute 80-percent of the cost, informed city officials that because the state bridge program is short of funds, it would cap its share at a flat dollar amount of $2,262,326. Consequently, Myers projected that the city's share, which with the original estimate fell between $600,000 and $800,000, to rise to between $1.5-million and $1.6-million. At the same time the city would be liable for any additional costs.
In a memorandum sent to city councillors yesterday, Myers said that one option is to accept the low bid, award the contract and start work this spring.
Alternatively, Myers explained that the DOT suggested shunting the Bridge Aid Program to the Municipal Owned Bridge Rehabilitation and Replacement (MOBRR) program, which is federally funded but administered by the DOT. Since funds will not be appropriated until the federal fiscal year beginning in October, 2013 the start of the project would be delayed a year. The DOT has assumed that the cost of the project will rise 10 percent to approximately $4.1-million from this year to next and agreed to increase its share by $800,000, from $2.3 million to $3.1 million, leaving the city to contribute a little more than $1 million, along with any additional charges.
Myers estimated that if the city borrowed in share over 20 years, the second option would spare $33,000 a year in debt service, or $660,000 over the term of the bond.
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.