NASHUA — With little discussion on Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen approved the first major construction contract for the new Broad Street Parkway that is about to be built.
City officials authorized a nearly $11.1 million contract with R.S. Audley Inc. to construct a major portion of the future two-mile roadway that will provide another crossing over the Nashua River.
The bid from R.S. Audley, $11,052,579, was significantly lower than the engineer’s estimate of nearly $14 million, according to the project manager.
“They were very innovative in the bid process,” said Alderman-at-Large David Deane, noting the city’s cost avoidance of about $3 million at the start of the massive project. “That is good news,” he added.
Construction on the first major phase of the Broad Street Parkway is expected to begin in less than a month, with equipment likely to arrive on the site of the northern portion of the roadway near Baldwin Street by Nov. 1.
The first construction contract includes widening and upgrading Broad Street east of the Exit 6 interchange, as well as replacing the Baldwin Street Bridge over the Pan Am railroad tracks. Also included is a new signalized intersection where the parkway will meet with Broad Street, a closed drainage system, and seven bioretention ponds and one detention pond. New sidewalks on Broad Street will also be constructed, and a building foundation at 44 Broad St. will be removed.
There are still three other sections of the future two-mile urban roadway that have not yet gone out to bid, including the River Bridge portion, Fairmount Street Bridge portion and the Parkway South section. Those three contracts are expected to total an additional $22 million.
Although the first large construction contract was approved by city officials this week, Alderman Dan Moriarty, Ward 9, voted in opposition on the grounds that the process was being expedited.
Moriarty said he does not agree with waiving the reconsideration period and bypassing normal procedures, questioning why the contract was being rushed through the normal approval process. By waiving the reconsideration period, it prohibits aldermen from reconsidering votes taken at prior meetings.
The contract must still receive authorization from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.
Some aldermen stressed the importance of having a neighborhood meeting before construction begins so questions could be answered by the contractor.
A neighborhood meeting has since been scheduled and is tentatively planned for Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Amherst Street School, 71 Amherst St.
The Broad Street Parkway is an $82 million roadway project that is designed to connect Broad Street to the downtown area by allowing motorists to bypass Amherst Street via another crossing of the Nashua River, possibly attracting more business and people to the Millyard Technology Park.