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Warden walking path project gets extra city funding

| June 10, 2021 1:00 AM

WARDEN — A project to construct new walking paths and sidewalks along Warden’s First Avenue is moving along, with more funding from the city than anticipated, at $107,000.

Originally the city was supposed to pay $45,000 of the project cost, with the bulk of the funding coming from a $255,000 grant from the state Transportation Improvement Board. But city clerk Kristine Shuler said Wednesday the project bids came in substantially over the engineering estimate.

Warden City Council members approved the extra money and authorized Mayor Tony Massa to sign a contract for the project at the regular meeting Tuesday. The money will come from the city’s street fund reserve, Shuler said.

The apparent low bid, from Chehalis-based Barcott Construction, for construction was $353,796, about $120,000 over the estimate, Shuler said. Shuler said the city submitted its application for the funding and the projected costs in early 2018. The estimates were based on 2018 costs, she said.

The project was delayed due to the need to move some power poles along the route, she said.

During the council meeting, Shuler said city officials negotiated some changes to the contract to bring down the price, but city attorney Anna Franz said in that case the project might have to be readvertised for bid.

Franz said other cities in the region have had similar experiences this year, and many opted to reject all bids and wait a few months to see construction costs come down. But council member Rosaelia Martinez said as long as the city had the money, she wanted to go forward. Council member Byron Starkey said prices might increase if the project is delayed again.

“We’ve been trying to do this path for (about) eight years,” Shuler said.

The project will build a walking path from Sandy Way to First Street, and along First Street to South County Road. It will be about 3,900 feet long, a mix of asphalt path and concrete sidewalk.

The asphalt path will start at Sandy Way and go to the Pine Avenue-First Street intersection. Sidewalks will be installed from Pine Avenue to Oak Avenue, as well as an asphalt path from Oak Avenue to South County Road.

Shuler said there isn’t a start date for construction.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.