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Coeur d’Alene postpones Government Way construction project due to high price tag

The city of Coeur d’Alene will postpone its Government Way widening and reconstruction project to next year after receiving only one bid for the project that was well over the engineer’s estimate.

Work on the section between Hanley and Prairie avenues was anticipated to start soon. Funding for the project, which involves multiple jurisdictions and includes water and sewer improvements, will be provided by the cities of Coeur d’Alene, Hayden and Dalton Gardens in addition to the Lakes Highway District and the Dalton Water Association.

T. LaRiviere of Athol submitted a bid of $5.6 million for the project, which is 34 percent higher than the engineer’s estimate of $4.2 million, said Coeur d’Alene Deputy City Administrator Sam Taylor. The bid price is more than the partner agencies have available, Taylor said.

Taylor said he suspects that the timing of the bid was a problem. “Right now business is booming for construction companies,” he said. “Many of these contractors already had work for the summer.”

Another issue was a requirement that work be completed by Nov. 20, which would have resulted in bigger crews and overtime expenses for the contractor, Taylor said. “That’s probably the largest amount of cost,” he said. “That’s a very quick construction window.”

The city will put the project out to bid again in the fall with plans to complete construction in 2018. “They’ll maybe be a little bit hungrier,” said Taylor of the local construction companies.

The delay of the project does have a silver lining. Large projects on Interstate 90 and Seltice Way are also underway and delaying the Government Way project will make things easier for drivers this summer, Taylor said.

The city had been putting off repair work on the street because it was set for reconstruction this year. With the delay of the project the city will move forward with necessary patch work on the road, Taylor said.

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