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Dual-Edgewood contract awarded

June 23, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The state of Maryland has awarded a $6 million contract to improve the intersection of Dual Highway and Edgewood Drive, the final step in a disputed bid process delayed more than a year.

The State Highway Administration on June 17 awarded the contract to Pessoa Construction of Fairmont Heights, Md., which bid $6,059,441, the second-lowest amount.

Kinsley Construction, which has offices in Maryland and Pennsylvania, bid $5,605,579, the lowest of eight bids, SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said.

Kinsley Construction tried to get a waiver from a requirement that helps minority businesses get a portion of state contracts, but SHA rejected the request, Gischlar said.

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A woman at Kinsley Construction said Tuesday she would try to provide a company comment on the contract award, but she didn't call back.

Gischlar said bidders had five days to appeal the contract award, meaning the last day was Monday.

The $6 million construction contract is a main part of the Dual-Edgewood project, which has been estimated to cost a little more than $12 million.

The state is paying half, the city 20 percent and the county 30 percent.

The project calls for a through lane and extended turn lanes in each direction on Dual Highway, as well as the widening of Edgewood Drive for turn lanes.

The road improvement project is particularly important because of plans to build a new regional medical center on Robinwood Drive by the end of 2010.

Gary W. Rohrer, Washington County's director of special projects, said at Tuesday's county commissioners meeting the road project is expected to start by the end of August and should take about 15 months until "substantial completion."

By that timetable, the work would be about done just before the new regional medical center opens.

"Apparently, this is going to be pretty good timing," said state Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

Munson said the contract award is a significant milestone for a community that needs the road improvement.

Munson said local community leaders and government officials pushed hard for the project and got help at the top levels of SHA and the Department of Transportation, including from Beverley K. Swaim-Staley

Swaim-Staley, a Hagerstown native, is the state's acting secretary of transportation.

Rohrer said he was happy to see the contract awarded, about 6 1/2 years after he first approached SHA about the project.

The Dual-Edgewood project was delayed a few years ago while the city and county negotiated a fair way to split costs.

In April 2008, the first set of bids were opened.

However, a dispute about the minority business enterprise waiver caused another delay. Part of the dispute was about bid forms that were seen as ambiguous, The Herald-Mail reported last year.

In November, SHA's Office of Construction wrote that it would reject all bids -- partly because a long time had elapsed and partly because bid forms had changed -- so the project was put to bid again.

The second round of bids was opened in March 2009.

Staff writer Heather Keels contributed to this story.

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