Council likely to reject 1st round of rail-trail bids

September 22, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Borough Council is expected to reject bids on a proposed 1.1-mile rail trail through the downtown that came in from $356,000 to nearly $1 million higher than estimates for the project.

The low bid was $1,019,793 from Lobar Associates Inc. of Dillsburg, Pa., said Assistant Borough Manager David Finch.

"Our estimate of the project is $663,511," Finch said Monday afternoon.

J.D. Eckman Inc. of Atglen, Pa., bid the project at $1,328,472 and Valley Quarries Inc. of Chambersburg submitted a bid of $1,654,879, Finch said.

Borough Manager Eric Oyer said Tuesday a recommendation to reject the bids will be on the consent agenda for Monday's meeting.


The low bid on the trail itself came to $404,000, according to Mayor Thomas Newcomer. It was the cost of other aspects of the project, including converting a railroad trestle over the Conococheague Creek into a covered bridge, lighting and traffic barriers, that escalated the cost, Newcomer said.

The low bid on those parts of the project came to $616,000, including $256,000 for lights and $209,000 for the bridge, Newcomer said. The project will be re-bid in a manner that will allow some of those items to be altered or removed, he said.

Newcomer said borough officials could decide to do some, but not all of the lighting, or remove the bridge canopy from the project if that will allow it to be done within budget. Those amenities could be added later if the borough receives more government grants or contributions from the public to pay for them, he said.

Advertising for new bids will set the project back, according to Newcomer, with construction beginning next spring rather than this fall as originally planned.

"Eight years is a long time for a project," Newcomer said of the time that has elapsed since the idea for converting the former CSX track was conceived.

Finch said funding for the trail comes from a combination of state and federal grants.

The hiking and biking trail will run from South Street north to Commerce Street, Finch said.

Major work elements for the rail trail include grading and surfacing the existing gravel rail bed, trail lighting, converting the trestle, landscaping, curbs and sidewalks, signing and marking eight road crossings along the route, and installation of six flashing crosswalk warning beacons, according to a description of the project.

From South to King streets, the surface will be asphalt varying in width from 8 to 12 feet. The trail surface will be gravel and 10 feet wide from King to Commerce Street, according to the project description.

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