Durham has received and reviewed the bids for completing the ATT in Durham County. The lowest bid totaled some $7.7 million, ~2million more than costs estimated and funding available for the project. The City Manager and top staff are examining options to allow the bridge over I-40 and trail sections connecting the bridge to be contracted for soon with the balance to be done in a later phase starting in 2012. Additional funding from Durham may be obtained from dollars currently budgeted for sidewalks and greenways. Other funding from non-highway projects requested by the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO will also be explored. Coordination of such arrangements with NC DOT will be needed as well as approval by the City Council. An award date for the contract has not been estimated but could occur by October.
Since August 6th, NC DOT has decided that Durham must rebid the project. We understand that the construction drawings will have to be broken out into two documents (for each phase), and each will have to be approved by NCDOT again before bidding can start. Tentatively one phase/project will be the bridge itself as well as the trail from NC54 to Renaissance (the approaches), and the other phase/project would be the rest of the trail. This breakout is tentative and may change as the construction drawings are revised. For more on these more recent events please see this August 10th Herald-Sun article http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/15002546/article-DOT-to-city–Take-new-bids-for-trail-bridge?instance=homethirdleft and a short piece from the the N & O’s Bullseye Blog http://blogs.newsobserver.com/bullseye/tobacco-trail-bridge-delayed-again-0. Further status info can be found on the City’s page on the American Tobacco Trail Project http://www.durhamnc.gov/departments/works/project_am_tob_trail.cfm
In late August, Durham City staff announced pending efforts to shift ~$3.8 Million from four Durham sidewalk projects to the Phase E project for the ATT. This shift must be approved by the Durham-Chapel Hill/Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization as well as by Durham’s City Council. Further detail on this proposal can be found in a http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story_news_durham/15206013/article-City-finds–3-8M-for-Tobacco-Trail?instance=main_article August 22 article in the Herald-Sun. On August 28th a member of a key advisory board says Durham officials need to look harder at why the bids for an extension of the American Tobacco Trail came in about 38 percent higher than expected. The $2.1 million overrun …”indicates the possibility of a serious error in judgment” by the engineers who designed the project and the city staffers who worked with them, said Toby Berla, a member of the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission.