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Newport transit station ready to go with lower bids

A redesign of the Newport Transit Station lowered the construction price tag by about $580,000. (Submitted graphic)

A revised Newport Transit Station plan yielded lower bids and the approval of a $1.3 million contract by the Washington County Regional Railroad Authority.

The County Board, acting as the railroad authority, approved a contract to complete the demo, grading, utilities, paving, landscaping and irrigation at a Tuesday, Oct. 22, meeting.

The county had previously rejected higher bids in July. Engineers worked with the architect and the city of Newport to scale back on some of the designs, which include reducing the footprint of the facility and parking spaces from 200 to 150 stalls.

“Looking at the revised plan, it would be very difficult for someone to even notice the differences in the design,” County engineer Wayne Sandberg said. “They were very subtle overall and we did meet the intent of the original goals of the project.”

Since the county reopened the project up for bids as two separate packages, the board awarded the contract to Rachel Contracting, Inc. for the demo package.

The building construction and electrical part of the project received a $970,000 bid, which is still awaiting approval from the Metropolitan Council and is not yet ready for approval by the railroad authority.

Sandberg said the new budget of $2.4 million is about $580,000 less than the original due to the redesigns and a $20,000 building permit fee waived by the city of Newport. It also includes 10 percent contingency.

The entire project is costing about $6.2 million with land acquisition and consultant services, according to the county.

Plans to install fiber optic are also in the works since it would be more cost effective to work into the project while it’s still in the beginning stages, Sandberg said.

He said the county is looking at a private-public partnership that would help reduce costs.

The Newport Transit Station is slated to open in October 2014 with express bus service to St. Paul running on the first day. The construction plans allow for flexibility to add bus rapid transit and rail services in the future to coincide with Red Rock Corridor plans, Sandberg said.

“Even with the redesigns, we’ve met that goal,” he said. “But we’re starting with express buses the day of opening.”

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.