An Ephraim subcommittee will move forward with the engineering firm AECOM to work on the upcoming streetscape project. The village and the firm have worked together for the past several years and some residents have come to distrust the firm’s capabilities.
“There’s this bad taste in the mouths of the public concerning Nick [Becker of AECOM], whether he did anything wrong or not,” said committee and village board member Cindy Nelson.
The big issue that arose in the early highway plans was a misunderstanding between the village, Becker and the Department of Transportation (DOT) about the allowable lane widths on the highway.
The Ad Hoc Streetscape Subcommittee chose AECOM over SEH, which is the firm working with the Town of Gibraltar, and McMahon engineering services.
“I don’t want to vote against AECOM based on village people holding them hostage for something they did,” said committee member John Held. “Our job is to pick the best contractor, not to make friends.”
The primary reason the subcommittee chose AECOM was their familiarity with the village. The firm worked on the preliminary design plans and already has a good layout of village infrastructure. That familiarity is important on a tight deadline where the village hopes work will begin in conjunction with the DOT resurfacing in spring of 2019.
“It came down to schedule,” said village administrator Brent Bristol. “AECOM has done a lot of work here and can deliver on that schedule.”
The subcommittee will be charged with negotiating the cost and scope of work. The scope of work may include the projects that the village has not formally committed to yet, including burial of utility lines and replacement of street lights.
The request for proposal (RFP) did not include total costs for the project, but did include rates. The subcommittee noted that AECOM was cheaper than SEH, the committee’s second choice.
The subcommittee met with Becker and Steve Parent of Baudhuin Surveying and Engineering after Pulse press time on Jan. 17.
The village board is expected to consider the contract with AECOM in February.