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Tahoe City sidewalk construction delayed

JOELLE BABULA, Sun News Service

Sidewalk construction was supposed to begin last month in Tahoe City.

It didn’t happen.

These sidewalks were then scheduled to go in this coming spring.

Not anymore.

Bids for the sidewalk project were received last week and only one came in. The $4.9 million bid from Burdick Excavating Company is more than the estimated $3.1 million cost originally figured by county engineers.

“We don’t know if this will be a tremendous delay or a small delay, but there will be a delay,” said Tim Hackworth with Placer County Public Works. “The bid is substantially over what our engineers estimated and now we certainly have to re evaluate where we are.”

According to Steve Kastan, the field deputy for Placer County Supervisor Rex Bloomfield, when the project originally went to bid, there were 29 inquiries.

So how come only one contractor made a bid? Both Kastan and Hackworth agree that the building restrictions mandated in the sidewalk project scared other bidders away.

“I thought there would be at least two bids, but I wasn’t surprised by the low numbers,” Hackworth said. “The reason is the multiple restrictions placed on the project put in specifically to satisfy all parties involved. The more restrictions and difficulties in a project, the less inviting it is.”

Some of the building specifications include limited construction during July and August, not being able to work at night and not being allowed to have traffic flagged to make more room for construction, Hackworth said.

The restrictions were designed to appease business owners, customers and community members bothered by heavy construction during prime tourist seasons.

“Relief from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency about night work would help and relief from Caltrans and the community about working in July and August would also help,” Hackworth said.

There may only be one bid, but it has not yet been accepted or rejected. The Placer County Board of Supervisors will decide that in a December meeting.

“We didn’t reject the bid yet, but we can’t award a bid unless we have the funding,” Hackworth said. “Unless we can come up with that money, we’re going to make a recommendation to the board to reject the bid.”

In addition to the $1.3 million funded by the downtown property owners assessment district, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, Placer County and several federal grant funds for the basic sidewalk construction, $526,392 has been raised through community efforts to fund sidewalk amenities.

“We have to do some research, evaluate the project, the bid and our options and summarize this to the board of supervisors,” Hackworth said.

According to Hackworth, some of the possible options include breaking the project up into smaller phases so it’s less risky for a contractor, redesigning the project

or simply doing nothing at all.

“We’re certainly disappointed because it’s been a long haul to get here, but now we’re just going to have to take the information that we have and make something

positive come out of it,” Hackworth said.

The next board of supervisors meeting is tentatively set for Dec. 15.

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