China selectmen unanimously awarded the bid to replace the causeway bridge at the head of China Lake’s east basin to the low – and local – bidder, Jason Tyler’s Comprehensive Land Technologies, Inc., of South China.
At their July 9 meeting board members briefly discussed the four bids received, which ranged from Tyler’s $493,750 to almost $655,000. Joe McLean, of Wright-Pierce, said all the bids were higher than he had expected based on past history; but, he said, the construction picture has changed this year. Contractors are not searching for work, and many have trouble finding competent employees for the work they have.
Asked whether the new bridge was a large or a small project for his company, Tyler said it was “on the high end of small.” He has experience with similar projects and the necessary state certification to work in the shoreland zone and in the water, he said.
McLean said the next steps are paperwork: a formal notice of the bid award from the town, a contract, a schedule and plans for traffic control that he will review and finally a notice to proceed.
Tyler asked for a bid award notice promptly, saying he needs to order the precast concrete sections immediately to receive them early in October.
McLean said the project has a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The state Department of Environmental Protection exempts bridge replacements from Natural Resources Protection Act permit requirements. Someone, perhaps a member of the Tax Increment Finance Committee subcommittee on the bridge, needs to apply to the China Planning Board for a town permit.
Work is to be done in late September and October. Part of the plan is to give area residents, including summer residents, ample notice of times the road will be closed.
In a related matter, a speed study is planned on the causeway, where the legal limit is currently 45 miles an hour. Town Manager Dennis Heath said China’s police force will do the study; he expects them to conduct it the week of July 16 and for another week three weeks later.
Former Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said if average traffic speed does not match the posted limit, the state Department of Transportation might adjust the limit.
In other business July 9:
- Selectmen unanimously appointed Kimberly Bolduc-Bartlett to work with Peter A. Nerber as China’s animal control officers. Bolduc-Bartlett is Windsor’s animal control officer, Heath said. Each will be paid a monthly stipend plus mileage, he said.
- After a 20-minute discussion, board members decided to proceed as in past years with sale of foreclosed properties, advertising for and accepting sealed bids with a 10 percent down payment, refundable if the bid is not accepted, and setting a minimum bid on each property that would cover town expenses. A public bid opening is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, at the town office, making the deadline for accepting bids 12:59 p.m. Aug. 16.
- They accepted Heath’s recommendation to postpone repaving Parmenter Hill Road to the 2019/20 fiscal year, to stay within the 2018/19 paving budget.
- They expressed interest in an email or phone notification system that would let town officials notify residents who signed up of events and changes, like the July 3 closing of the transfer station that Heath and Board Chairman Robert MacFarland said caught some residents off guard.
- They unanimously renewed Wildwood Pawn’s pawnbroker’s license for another year.
According to the town website, the next selectmen’s meeting is scheduled for Monday evening, July 23. Heath prepared a financial summary of the fiscal year that ended June 30 and suggested board members review it in preparation for a July 23 discussion.
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