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Bidding starts over on bike trail
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TREASURE ISLAND – Residents will have to wait a little bit longer for construction to begin on the city of Treasure Island’s proposed bicycle trail.

After reviewing bids from three companies, city commissioners decided Feb. 19 to put the project up for re-bidding, which will delay the decision-making process to late April or early May.

The project consists of three components – construction of the trail, which will run from the west end off the West Causeway Bridge to the traffic signal at Gulf Boulevard and 104th Avenue; milling and resurfacing of 104th Avenue and safety improvements to the intersection of 104th, 107th and 108th avenues, known as the St. James intersection.

The Michael Baker Corp. the city’s engineer and designer for the project, estimated last summer that the cost of the trail and resurfacing at $195,000 and the safety improvements at $60,000 for a total of $255,000.

But when bids began to roll in a month ago, the lowest bid was $405,925 from Florida Safety Contractors Inc.

Other bids included $533,437 from Biltmore Construction Co., and $541,916 from Ajax Paving Industries.

Since the bids were a minimum of $150,925 over the original projected cost, Michael Baker Corp. performed a “scope adjustment” and recommended a contract award of $378,519 by the city with a 5 percent contingency built in.

Jerry Dabkowski, a reprehensive of Michael Baker Corp., told city staff and the City Commission the reason for bid amounts exceeding the estimate was because Baker used FDOT unit pricing, which is based on larger projects. The smaller scale of the city’s project resulted in higher unit prices big by Florida Safety.

Had commissioners decided to move forward with a renegotiated cost and contingency amount of $397,449, it would have used funds available for street paving this year and forced an adjusted paving schedule over the next two fiscal years.

Commissioners instead decided to rebid the project, in hopes of getting a figure closer to the original estimate.

In other action, commissioners:

• Approved a resolution authorizing the city’s Public Works department to spend $40,000 with Advanced Engineering for design and engineering of 84th Avenue drainage basin improvements.

• Asked Tom Charles, project manager for the Isle of Capri bridge construction, for feedback in response to complaints that a traffic signal regulating traffic to and from the island over one lane of traffic was taking too long. Charles said the entire phase cycle is 2 minutes, 15 seconds. “I think, overall, it’s pretty productive but we’ll look at it and see if any adjustments are necessary,” Charles said. Commissioner Carol Coward reminded residents that if they left their homes two minutes sooner, it would not be an issue.

• Sent to the city’s Land Planning Agency a suggestion that the 30-inch maximum height of landscaping on waterfront lots be expanded to include trees, in an effort to better create an unimpeded view of Boca Ciega Bay and nearby canals.
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