BELMONT — Three sealed bids for the construction portion of Phase 1 of the Belmont recreational trail were opened yesterday afternoon and all three were above the $690,000 allotted.
An additional $99,000 is set aside for engineering and oversight, meaning the town has $780,000 to spend on the project.
The bids were opened by Belmont Land Use Technician Rick Ball and recorded by Timothy Higginson, an engineer with the Louis Berger Group Inc. which designed and is overseeing the project.
Bids were submitted from John Lyman Co. for $1,297,295, from Busby Construction for $872,872, and from Nelson Companies of Center Conway for $726,278.
Ball said the Nelson bid plus the engineering means the project is about 9 percent over budget.
Ron Mitchell, who has been leading the fund-raising for the trail for 12 years said the next step is to submit the bids to the N.H. Department of Transportation and to evaluate them for accuracy.
Mitchell said he thinks that construction companies have plenty of work these days and are having trouble finding employees, which could be why they had so few bids.
"It's not like it was two years ago when (construction companies) were screaming for work," he said.
The trail has been being planned for about 12 years and is part of a Transportation Enhancement Program funded through state and federal highway money. The phase 1 pathway will mostly run in the railway right-of-way between the Belmont-Laconia line and the Mosquito Bridge, along the shore of Lake Winnisquam.
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