Interchange bids come in higher than anticipated

The $18 million construction project meant to improve traffic flow between State Routes 3 and 303 at the northwestern corner of Kitsap Mall has been on the state’s drawing board for more than two years now. It is not likely this winter’s holiday rush will be complicated by the transportation improvement project traffic either.

“The likelihood of us getting under construction by the Christmas shopping season is very slim,” said Lloyd Brown, communication manager for the Olympic region of the state’s Department of Transportation.

The contractor bids for the project were opened last week and the DOT is in dialogue with Scarsella Bros. Inc. about their lowest of seven contractor proposals.

Amity Trowbridge, Port Orchard-based DOT project engineer for the construction phase of the interchange, said on average there is a one-month lag period between opening of the bids and the contractor beginning work on the site. In a project as large in scale as the Waaga Way interchange, Trowbridge added, it would likely take longer.

The DOT has up to 45 days to award the contract.

“The bids came in a little high, so we are analyzing them,” Brown said.

Compared to the engineer’s estimate of a $14.3 million construction cost, the Scarsella Bros. Inc. offer is $16.7 million and the state is in the process of comparing notes with that lowest bidder.

Trowbridge said one DOT forethought was to include a minimal traffic impact stipulation in the contract for the holiday seasons seeing as the project is adjacent to the heart of shoppers’ destination in Silverdale.

But even if the contract was awarded sooner rather than later, “(the contractor) is not going to be able to do things that will impact traffic (right away),” she said.

Trowbridge was reluctant to estimate when construction will take off until the DOT commits to a bidder via a signed contract.

“The ball isn’t in my court quite yet,” she said.

The project includes widening of the Kitsap Mall Boulevard/Clear Creek Road overpass, new ramps and lights controlling traffic flow between the two highways, removing some existing ramps and creating a storm water treatment facility in the middle of the revamped interchange.

Two lights will help control traffic flow

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