Maroon Creek bridge bids too high |

Maroon Creek bridge bids too high

Janet Urquhart

Both bids submitted by contractors interested in building a new Maroon Creek bridge were rejected Thursday, leaving the timing of the project up in the air.The bids were opened yesterday morning in Denver; both exceeded the estimates for the project by Colorado Department of Transportation engineers by more than 10 percent and were automatically rejected as a result, said Joe Elsen, CDOT program engineer in Glenwood Springs.The budget for the project is $12.3 million.Elsen said yesterday he wasn’t yet sure how the failed bid process will affect this spring’s planned start date for construction of the new span. He had anticipated work would begin in April with the relocation of electrical lines from beneath the pedestrian bridge, which crosses the Maroon Creek gorge next to the Highway 82 bridge. Then, the pedestrian bridge is to be dismantled, making way for construction of the new highway span while the existing one continues to carry traffic.It’s possible CDOT could rebid the project, Elsen said, but first the agency will determine what elements of the bids that were received exceeded CDOT’s estimates.”We need to see what the problem was,” he said. “We have a list of over a hundred items and we put in our estimated cost of each of them.”Elsen said he anticipated four contractors would bid for the work and was disappointed that only two submitted bids. Because the bids were rejected, neither the identities of the firms that submitted them nor the amount of their bids were made public, he said.The existing highway bridge, originally built as a railroad trestle in 1888, has required various structural repairs and has long been on CDOT’s priority list for replacement.The historic span will be retained to carry light rail, if that transit system materializes, but vehicular traffic will switch to the new bridge once it’s constructed.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail is

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