Construction Bids Bring New Challenge to Hillsboro Road Project

The Town of Hillsboro reached the next milestone in its ambitious Rt. 9 traffic calming project last week, but the celebration was tempered by higher than anticipated construction bids.

            The town received bids from three contractors, which were opened July 25. The bids range from $19.9 million to $24.9 million. However, project engineers had estimated the construction to cost $15 million of the overall project’s $22.2 million total. 

            Mayor Roger Vance said he talked with the three responding contractors on Tuesday and that the town’s consultants were continuing their evaluation.  A meeting with the project engineers was planned on Thursday. 

            Despite the sticker shock, Vance said he hoped to have that review completed quickly and then assess the next steps for the moving ahead.

            The town’s mandatory pre-bid conference in May was attended by four prime contractors. Bids were originally scheduled to be opened on July 11, but that process was sidelined when interested firms approached the town with dozens of questions about the project. To give the contractors a chance to digest the answers they needed, the town waited to open the bids until last Thursday.

The majority of the funding for the project—which includes the construction of two roundabouts, new sidewalks and buried powerlines—is slated to come from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, which earmarked $12 million for the work after a successful lobbying push by town residents. The Loudoun County government has committed nearly $7 million. 

The town faced a similar challenge earlier this year when bids for another project—to upgrade the town’s utility system—also came in more than 40 percent over the engineering estimates. In that case, the town awarded a $3.2 million contract to Shirley Contracting. 

On the road project, Sherley submitted the highest bid, at $24.99 million—double the construction estimate. 

General Excavation Inc. of Warrenton provided the lowest bid, $19.95 million. Loudoun-based A&M Concrete Corp. bid $20.82 million.

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