Courtesy of Doug Lezette:
Salt Lake rail contractor wants re-bid on track job
October 15, 2004
By WILSON RING The Associated Press
MONTPELIER — A Utah company that lost out on a proposal to take up
the tracks of the former Lamoille Valley Railroad says the Vermont
Transportation Agency should rebid the project.
Michael Van Wagenen, the vice president of A&K Railroad Materials
Inc. of Salt Lake City, said Thursday his company could save the
state at least $319,000 and possibly as much as $600,000 over the
bid the state awarded to Engineers Construction of Williston.
The state is having the tracks removed and the railbed will be
converted to a recreation trail.
"We were the second place bidder on this project. We lost the bid,"
Van Wagenen said at a Montpelier news conference. "But this isn't
sour grapes or a disgruntled bidder. We feel there are some flaws in
the bid documents that are really going to cost the state some
Vermont Transportation Secretary Patricia McDonald said she had been
in contact with the Vermont representative of A&K, Montpelier
attorney Stephen Kimbell, to discuss the issue.
She said she would consider rebidding the project.
"Steve certainly makes a great deal of sense," McDonald said.
But Engineers Construction will be given the opportunity to adjust
"Our contractor was legitimately awarded the bid. I need to work
with them to be fair to them as well," McDonald said.
After Engineers Construction has resubmitted its proposal, McDonald
will decide whether to rebid the project.
An official from Engineers Construction did not immediately return a
call Thursday seeking comment.
McDonald said the project was important to people in the Lamoille
Valley and it has to be done next summer, in time to allow the trail
to be used for snowmobilers in the winter of 2005-06.
The project will not cost the state any money. Rather, the company
that pulls up the tracks and the ties will be able to resell them
either to be rehabilitated or recycled.
The state bid the project in two phases. The first phase is for the
removal of 95 miles of railroad track and ties from St. Johnsbury to
St. Albans, for which the state will be paid the scrap value of the
steel. The other is for the repair of roadways where the track
crosses highways, which will cost the state money.
Van Wagenen's company lost its bid on the scrap value of the steel
by $20,000. But its proposal to rebuild the highway crossings was
$339,000 less than Engineers Construction.
Increases in the value of scrap metal in the past few weeks could
save the state another $300,000, he said.
"It seems like such an obvious situation here where we could be
saving some money for the state and taken together we would have won
the bid," Van Wagenen said.
Even if the project were to be rebid, Van Wagenen said, his company
could meet the state's completion deadline of Sept. 1 next year.
Van Wagenen said he was aware that if the project were to be rebid
his firm could still lose out to another company.