Bids for Talent street work come in too high

Main St. extension now will be done in 2 phases

TALENT — Bids to build an extension of Main Street to West Valley View Road in downtown Talent will be separated into two phases after bids to build the entire street came in $138,000 higher than engineering estimates of $760,000.

Talent Urban Renewal Agency's board of directors voted Wednesday evening to reject the proposals and told Executive Director Marla Cates to seek bids for completion of part of the roadway from Talent Avenue to Seiber Street.

"We would like to get (the first phase) in this construction season," said Cates. The work had been designed for two phases, with the portion from Seiber to Valley View planned for next year.

When completed, the project will create a new gateway into downtown and provide improved traffic flow. West Valley View takes traffic to Talent Avenue. The project will include a roundabout west of Highway 99 to connect Valley View to Main Street via an extension through the former Camelot Theatre site.

Bid packets should be available to contractors in about 10 days, Cates estimated. Finish work around the new Camelot Theatre and realignment of Lapree Street off Talent Avenues also will be included.

A busy market for construction work because of a number of other projects in the area — and the necessity for a contractor to post a performance bond for an 18-month period — may have contributed to the high bids, said Cates. Reduction of performance bond time may bring more bidders.

"That was one of the things we kind of wondered about," said Cates. "One bidder did express concern about that."

In addition, the agency recently re-funded outstanding bond measures. That move ultimately will save $230,000 in interest costs but left the agency with a low cash flow for the immediate future and unable to accept the higher bids.

Knife River was the low bidder at $898,727. Kogap Enterprises submitted a bid of $983,725. Two other firms took out project plans but did not submit bids.

The engineering cost estimate for the smaller phase is $260,000. ZCS Engineering designed the project.

Landscaping components of the project may be delayed, said Cates. A park plaza area will be built on a portion of the former West Valley View Road after the roundabout is connected to Main Street. Parking, local access and bus stops will be part of that phase.

Improvements already completed include the construction of Seiber Street from New Street to the future extension of Main Street, with 36 head-in parking spots behind the new Camelot Theatre building and an alley north of the theatre.

Camelot sold its old location in the roadway's path to the agency and constructed a new theater just to the north. Inventor Chris LaDue purchased the old theater building, then had it cut into three sections and moved it to his land on Wagner Creek Road.

Total cost of all phases of the project is expected to be $3.3 million. It will be paid for with a $1 million state grant and property tax assessments.

Mature shrubs that are in the project's path are available to the public, said Cates. She can be contacted at 541-535-6170 for details.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.


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