Rising fuel costs have made their impact known locally, as the bid for the first stages of Project AWAYSIS came in at more than 50 percent over the project estimate.
Godbersen-Smith Construction Co. Inc. of Ida Grove was the sole project bidder at $1,643,313.80 for Phase I of Project AWAYSIS. The cost estimate had been $1,040,000.
Phase I includes the relocation and removal of a portion of Sunrise Park Road, relocation of golf cart storage buildings, parking for the golf course clubhouse, and placement and grading of fill in the project area.
The bid was opened Thursday and the city had intended to award a contract Monday. Completion date for construction is slated for Dec. 30.
Kim Triggs, representative of Godbersen-Smith, was on hand for the bid opening, along with Kevin Strehle, landscape architect for BCDM of Omaha, Neb., Project AWAYSIS planners, and city staff.
Calling the project estimate "unrealistic", Triggs pointed to the current price of fuel at $3 a gallon as a major reason for the higher-than-expected bid.
"Earthwork is probably the biggest variable," Triggs said, adding that "anything that's fuel-driven" is likely going to drive up construction costs. "The cost of fuel has more than doubled in the last three months."
The Dec. 30 completion date was another factor to impact the bid, Triggs said. The contract calls for damages of $500 a day for each day the contractor runs late beyond Dec. 30.
Triggs said when the contractor assumes the liability for the project deadline that the cost will be higher.
"There's a lot to get done in a short period of time," Triggs said. "We're going to have to haul 7,000 to 8,000 yards of gravel a day to make it happen."
Triggs said golf cart buildings would be moved Oct. 15.
"Pushing it back (construction) doesn't save us as much as it costs us," said Project AWAYSIS Project Manager Mike Wilson.
On Friday, the day after the bid opening, Wilson said Godbersen-Smith's $498,000 bid for earthwork was mainly what topped project estimates. The plan is to take earth from the east spoil site and use it to fill. Initially, 75,000 cubic yards of fill will be required, with possibly up to an additional 15,000 cubic yards to compensate for compacting, Wilson said.
As far as the possibility of redrafting bid specs and rebidding Phase I, said Wilson, "That's always an option." One cost savings might be to delay repaving Sunrise Park Road. "It wouldn't have to be absolutely paved this fall," Wilson said.
Placing fill this fall, though, is essential if it is to settle in time for spring construction.
The big question looming over all construction right now is fuel prices. "Is fuel going to be $4 next spring or is it going to be $2," Wilson said.