Low bid $75.2 million for SR76 East work – Review of Ames Construction bid now underway

Ames Construction of Corona submitted the low bid for the contract to widen State Route 76 between South Mission Road and Interstate 15.

The Ames Construction bid of $75.2 million was the lowest among the seven bids submitted. The bids were opened June 19.

The Ames bid is below the $91 million construction estimate which was based on the cumulative estimates for items the contractor and subcontractors are required to provide. The actual expected cost of approximately $100 million includes support, lane closure and traffic control expenses, and contingencies. The highest of the seven bids submitted was for $109 million.

The contract was advertised for bid on April 28. The bid package included subtotals for each of approximately 350 items, and the bid on each item included labor and overhead as well as material and other expenses. The listing of separate items also allowed for disadvantaged business enterprise subcontractors to be specified, as the contractor must meet a 10 percent disadvantaged business enterprise requirement.

The Ames bid is under review to ensure that the company and its subcontractors will be able to perform the work for the prices quoted and that the disadvantaged enterprise requirement is met. The review period will take approximately six weeks. Should Ames be declared the low responsible bidder, Caltrans and Ames will then finalize the contract documents.

After contract documents are finalized, time will be allowed for Ames and the subcontractors to move equipment to the site. The actual construction is expected to begin in September.

The existing Highway 76 is 30 feet wide on average. The widened road will average 44 feet of paved surface in each direction which equates to two travel lanes 12 feet wide along with inside and outside shoulder lanes 10 feet wide, and the road will also include turn lanes, acceleration and deceleration lanes, and barriers.

The official eastern end of the project is half a mile east of Interstate 15; although improvements on the interchange at State Route 76 and Interstate 15 opened to traffic in August 2013, Ames and the subcontractors will use fill available from the interchange work, replant the interchange, and expand the park-and-ride lot on the northwest side of the interchange. The widening between Melrose Drive and South Mission Road was completed in 2012 and source material from that segment will be used for fill during construction of the new portion, so Olive Hill Road is the western end of the project due to the presence of the source material.

The Olive Hill site contains approximately 60,000 cubic yards of fill. The project will need a total of approximately 900,000 cubic yards for embankments. Fill from the Vessels property south of the San Luis Rey River will provide approximately 600,000 cubic yards, and a fill stockpile at the I-15 interchange makes approximately 135,000 cubic yards available. The remaining approximate 100,000 cubic yards will need to be imported. The new road will be elevated approximately six to eight feet above the old highway.

The initial work will take place on the southern part of the road between South Mission Road and Gird Road. The hauling of fill will be followed by paving a road on top of that fill, which will allow all traffic to be moved to what will eventually be the eastbound lanes while work is being done on the eventual westbound lanes. The work on the north side of the segment between South Mission Road and Gird Road will follow the completion of the tasks on the south side of that portion.

The work on the south side between Gird Road and I-15 will follow the completion of the phases west of Gird Road. The eastern stages will involve hauling the fill from the Vessels site, which will require the construction of a temporary bridge across the San Luis Rey River.

After the work on the south side between Gird Road and I-15 is completed, the work on the north side will take place. A capping of the road will be the final stage.

Planting tasks are expected to be performed shortly after completion of the associated road work.

The work will also add a traffic signal at the intersection of Highway 76 and Via Monserate. All driveways and street intersections accessible from Highway 76 will be renovated (any nighttime driveway closures will take place between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.).

The expansion of the park-and-ride lot will include flattening the grade and providing truck parking and a bus terminal. The park-and-ride lot improvements will also include lighting and charging stations for electric vehicles.

The work will also include the removal of “palisades,” the term for the pipes with webbing initially erected to control the flow of the San Luis Rey River and protect the road from erosion. Existing riprap within slopes will either be abandoned in place or re-used.

Non-road activities will include the installation of five wild animal crossings, the relocation of Rainbow Municipal Water District water and sewer lines, and coordination with the San Diego County Water Authority to protect CWA pipelines which cross the highway.

The bid package calls for 825 working days, which equates to a three-year period in the absence of excessive weather-based delays.

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