– The county’s Council of Governments awarded a $23.2 million
contract on Thursday to Pavex Construction to build the
long-planned Highway 25 bypass.
Hollister – The county’s Council of Governments awarded a $23.2 million contract on Thursday to Pavex Construction to build the long-planned Highway 25 bypass.
A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 11am Tuesday at the intersection of Airline Highway and Sunnyslope Road.
The contract requires Pavex to begin work within 15 calendar days, and to finish within 350 working days – about one year and four months. Transportation Planning Manager Mary Dinkuhn has said the bypass should open by the end of 2008.
Pavex’s $23.2 million bid came in at $2.2 million less than COG’s $25.4 million construction estimate.
COG Executive Director Lisa Rheinheimer said that as construction progresses, COG will spend federal and state funds first. If the project – estimated to cost a total of $45 million – comes in under budget, Rheinheimer said there could be city and county traffic impact fees left over.
COG directors and staff members burst into applause after the contract was approved.
County Supervisor Don Marcus, who sits on COG’s board of directors, said he was pleased that none of the bids strayed too far from the county’s expectations.
“It’s a commendation on the design to have four bids of this magnitude coming in so close to the estimate,” he said.
According to Rheinheimer, bids for transportation projects throughout California have been coming in more expensive than estimated. But she said Highway 25 escaped that problem because the project’s cost was estimated conservatively, because the project went out to bid at a good time and because the presence of two nearby stone quarries helps reduce transportation costs.
The bypass will reroute highway traffic off San Benito Street onto a new road east of McCray Street. Advocates have said the bypass will revitalize downtown Hollister by making San Benito Street more pedestrian-friendly and restoring it to city control.
The highway is controlled by the state Department of Transportation.
Developers are already planning projects along the bypass route, including a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center.
Jerry Muenzer, owner of Muenzer’s Cyclery and Sports Center, said he’s glad construction is about to start. Spurred by work on the bypass, the Hollister Downtown Association is preparing a new strategy plan, and Muenzer said that when the HDA interviewed firms interested in working on the plan, all of them saw the bypass as a great opportunity.
“Every one of them talked about how important it is to take the state highway off main street,” Muenzer said.
Anthony Ha covers local government for the Free Lance. Reach him at 831-637-5566 ext. 330 or [email protected].