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betting on a quick fix for Maze

By enelson
Monday, May 7th, 2007 at 2:02 pm in Caltrans, driving, Freeway collapse, Freeways, Funding, Safety.

ramp-closed-see-newspaper.jpgI have to say my jaw dropped a bit when I heard the low bid for replacing the I-580 ramp for the MacArthur Maze: $867,075.

For a few more thousand, you could buy a one-story Craftsman in Livermore.

Until today, the best number I had heard (remember that I was on jury duty last week) was the $20 million that had been allocated by an emergency director’s order to replace the melted upper deck in a hurry.

Today I found out the actual Caltrans engineer’s estimate for the replacement contract was $5.2 million. Still, that’s a big difference.

Here’s another fun aspect of big-league public works bidding I learned today: Bids come in artifically high sometimes because the contractors don’t expect to make deadlines in the contract. Therefore, they build in penalties into their overall bid.

Today’s bid is the total opposite, much to the benefit of West Oaklanders who will suck fumes from detoured freeway traffic until the job is done.

Most of the bidders today, especially low bidder CC Myers of Rancho Cordova, are apparently betting that they’ll finish very early and snap up a lot of that $200,000-a-day incentive money. In order to get the maximum bonus of $5 million, they’d have to finish 25 days ahead of the June 27 deadline.

Now it’s time to mark your calendars again: June 2. That’s payday for one very quick contractor, lots of asthmatic kids in West Oakland and commuters who will once again make 45,000 trips a day across that ramp.

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