Contract competition drives down cost

WESTFIELD – City officials are looking to expand the scope of the Airport Industrial Road construction project because bids from contractors came in nearly $1 million below original estimates.
City Advancement Officer Jeff Daley, speaking at the City Council business liaison committee session Tuesday night, said that the contract came in at $1,004,000, far below the $2 million grant, accepted by the City Council in September earmarked through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development to reconstruct Airport Industrial Park Road located in the northeast corner of Barnes Regional Airport.
The contract has been awarded to WestMass Construction of West Springfield, which, last year, completed the first phase of the Columbia Greenway from the Southwick Town Line to the southern bank of Little River.
“Bids came in way under estimated, so I’m trying to add enhancements to the scope of work, additional landscaping and lighting,” said Daley.
Mayor Daniel M. Knapik said today that the project bids indicate the competitive nature of companies attempting to secure work at this time of the year.
“Competition is fierce for winter projects when they have crews waiting for work,” Knapik said. “This is a relatively quick project, so there was really competition for it,” Knapik said. “Those guys are ready to start. They should begin clearing trees and staging equipment shortly.”
“We’ve had dealings with WestMass in the past. They’re an established site development company.” Knapik said.
The city is working with the state agency’s Massworks Infrastructure Program, to modify the scope of work, using money earmarked but not yet encumbered for the road reconstruction. The state can approve an amendment to include additional work under the terms of the grant, bit unused funds are returned to the state and applied to other grants.
“Usually, the state is pretty good when there is a (contract) underage, money already earmarked for a project,” Knapik said. “If it is a legitimate enhancement, they usually allow it to be added.”
The current access road between North Road and Elise Street, where there are a number of industrial and aviation-related tenants including Gulfstream, is currently a hodge-podge of street fragments, including two segments of Apremont Way, and a segment of Old Stage Way. Daley said the current road does not conform to the city’s zoning requirements for an industrial park road.
Construction of the roadway will also include installation of underground infrastructure, sewers, water and gas lines, which will be needed to support development of the commercial/industrial park. Daley said the city will be installing a large water main, 12 to 16 inches, to provide improved service to existing firms and future tenants of the Airport Industrial Park, as part of the road improvement work.

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