Bids high for Oxford bike-lane proposal

OXFORD – City officials expect to rebid the construction of the second phase of Oxford’s Pathways project after changing the specifications to lower costs.
Even the lowest bid opened on Sept. 7, at about $3.2 million, was about 18 percent over the estimated cost, and aldermen voted to reject all bids.
Phase II was intended to add bike lanes to several more miles of streets, including South 18th, Belk Drive, Bramlett Boulevard, Williams, Manor Drive, North Lamar Boulevard, Highway 30 from North Lamar to Park Drive and a portion of Highway 314 from Jackson Avenue to McElroy Drive. South Lamar Boulevard, Frontage Road, and parts of Hathorn Road, Old Taylor Road and Highway 314 were added later.
“We have talked with MDOT a couple of times to find out what we can do,” said Public Works Director Bart Robinson. “If we can cut some costs without having to start the process over, optimistically we could be taking bids again within six months.” The Phase II grant process was begun in 2006.
Kevin McLeod of Elliott-Britt Engineering said one possible way to cut cost is substituting local clay gravel for trucked-in limestone for the bike path base material.
“We don’t want to take off any routes,” McLeod said. “These are the routes we really need to do for all bikers.”
Oxford officials have until Sept. 21 to let MDOT know what they plan.
“We’ll cut back on a limited number of things and stick it back out there for bid,” Ward 4 Alderman Ulysses “Coach” Howell said. “We hope the timing will be better.”
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

ERROL CASTENS / Daily Journal Oxford Bureau