Bid far exceeds budget for Depot Street project

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Some work will be done on Depot Street this fall, but the entire project will not be completed in six weeks as originally planned.

The reason? Only one bid came back for the rebuilding of Bridgton’s Depot Street, and it was way over what the town had budgeted for the project.

The lone bid by Dearborn Brothers Construction of Buxton came in at $625,676, which is nearly $250,000 more than the $378,034 cost estimated by the town’s project consultants, Milone & MacBroom.

As a result, the Bridgton Board of Selectmen decided Tuesday to reject the bid, and rebid the project as soon as possible after reviewing items that can be removed from the bid and done in-house. In addition, they voted to have the work be completed in two phases — some this fall, some late next spring. That way, the rebuilding of the roadway and installation of utilities can be done before preparing the site for winter, and a top coat, sidewalks lighting and amenities can be done by June 30 of next year.

Economic, Planning and Community Development Director Anne Krieg blamed the high bid on the timing, so late in this year’s construction season. She said several prospective bidders who went on a pre-bid site walk did not choose to bid on the project because they were too busy.

“They already have projects going, and the mobilization requirements (to start the work the end of August) were more than they could handle,” Krieg said. It’s likely there would be more interest from bidders for a two-phase project that has a more relaxed schedule, she said.

Another advantage of a two-phase project would be the opportunity to use 2015 Community Development Block Grant set-aside funds, available after July 1, 2015, for amenities such as benches, lighting, trash receptacles and the like. Those items can be removed from the specs when the project is re-bid, she said.

Krieg said she and Town Manager Bob Peabody met Monday with Aaron Shapiro of Cumberland County Community Development and Dustin Roma of Milone & MacBroom to discuss the town’s options. The two-phase project with immediate re-bidding seemed the best solution.

“In speaking to the county, it is imperative the town expend the funds for Depot Street as soon as possible,” Krieg wrote in a memo to the board. “These funds have lain dormant for the past three years; the first available funds date from 2011.”

The town could have adjusted the project scope and then waited to release the bid in January, but adverse spring weather could delay the project beyond June 30 and into the busy summer tourist season.

The $378,034 budget for the Depot Street project as it now stands includes around $95,000 in TIF funds, $185,177 in 2013 CDBG appropriations, $20,499 in 2012 CDBG appropriations, $45,000 in 2011 CDBG appropriations and around $32,000 in unused stormwater improvement funds.

Krieg will work with engineers and staff to re-evaluate the project scope and report back to selectmen so a new bidding process can begin.


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