NASHUA — Elected officials are supporting a nearly $14 million contract for the second major construction phase of the Broad Street Parkway, a price tag that is significantly less than originally expected.
Earlier this month, the Board of Public Works approved the proposed $13.8 million contract with E.D. Swett of Concord to construct two large portions of the parkway — the Nashua River Bridge and the Fairmount Street Bridge.
According to John Vancor, project manager with Hayner Swanson Inc., the initial cost estimate for the work was closer to almost $17 million.
"So, $3 million below the engineer's estimate is certainly good news," Vancor told the Board of Public Works.
On Thursday, the aldermanic Finance Committee is expected to review the contract, which will then be presented to the full Board of Aldermen for official authorization in the coming weeks.
According to the proposal, construction of the new Nashua River Bridge — the most significant portion of the parkway — will be completed by May 2015.
"We are really excited about this contract. It is a big deal," said Mayor Donnalee Lozeau.
Vancor agreed, noting that E.D. Swett has an excellent reputation for building bridges in New Hampshire. Higher bids were received from Beck and Bellucci of Franklin, R.S. Audley Inc., Reed and Reed of Woolwich, Maine, and Cianbro of Pittsfield, Maine.
Two months ago, aldermen authorized the first major construction contract for the parkway to R.S. Audley Inc., at a cost of nearly $11.1 million. The first phase includes the northern portion of the parkway, such as widening and upgrading Broad Street east of the Exit 6 interchange, as well as replacing the Baldwin Street Bridge.
Now that the first two major construction contracts have been approved, the focus will shift to the third and final contract for the southern portion of the parkway, according to Vancor.
There are still some complications with property acquisitions in the heart of the Millyard area, said Vancor, explaining the New Hampshire Department of Transportation is working on behalf of the city to finalize the acquisitions.
"It is not as quick as we would like," said Vancor, adding the city has been unable to advertise for bids on the southern section because of the pending land acquisitions.
Previously, Vancor said there were still four properties that have to be acquired before the two-mile urban roadway can be constructed. Without going into specifics, Vancor said that in each case, offers have been made by the DOT on the city's behalf for the four remaining parcels.
Because the Federal Highway Administration previously issued a Record of Decision, and the property needed for the roadway has already been identified through a public hearing process, Vancor explained earlier that DOT has the ability to obtain the properties through eminent domain if an agreement is not reached.
Work has already begun on the northern portion of the project, as tree clearing is complete and the existing Baldwin Street Bridge has been dismantled.
The Broad Street Parkway is an $82 million road project that will provide another crossing over the Nashua River, allowing motorists to bypass Amherst Street, possibly alleviate downtown traffic and potentially attract more business to the Millyard Technology Park.