CUMBERLAND, Md. — City officials remain confident they can fill a funding gap of roughly $2 million after reviewing contractor bids Wednesday for the Baltimore Street Access Project.
Two bids were submitted for the project, which includes replacing underground utility lines, reinstalling Baltimore Street through the pedestrian mall and creating a new streetscape with parklets, trees and shrubs.
The bids received were from Triton Construction Inc. of St. Albans, West Virginia, and Carl Belt, Inc. of Cumberland. Both were asked to submit a base bid for surface pavers on stone and an alternate bid for pavers on concrete.
Triton was the low bidder with a base bid of $14.6 million and an alternate bid of $15.2 million. Carl Belt’s base bid was $15.1 million. It’s alternate bid was $15.5 million.
City officials, who budgeted $12.5 million for the project, said they were confident they can bridge the funding gap.
Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss said he would have liked to see a few more bids, however, the bid amounts did not surprise him.
“I think we understood with the inflation rate we have been experiencing here for the last year that the bids would probably be a little higher than what we initially believed they would be,” he said. “But all in all they are probably in line with what is happening now with inflation.”
City engineer Robert Smith said the city has secured $9.42 million in state and federal grant so far.
“With our local match contributions, it brings it to about $11.4 million,” he said, adding some of the grants are based on a percentage and could increase taking into consideration the bid figures, which could bring the total designated so far to $12.5 million.
Redoing grant application numbers could take some time, according to Smith, but he didn’t think it would impact the planned April start.
“We have to advise state highways on how we plan on funding it all,” said Smith. “All funding would have to be secured until state highways would issue us a notice to proceed for the award. We will have some discussions. We could look for grant funding or using city funds. It will come down to some more analysis and some phone calls to our funding partners.”
“Overall I think we are all relatively happy the way the bids come back,” said Matt Miller, executive director of the Cumberland Economic Development Corp. “I think given the concern with inflation, actually everyone was surprised and pleased with the outcome of the bid process. I have full confidence that we will be able to move forward with the process.”
Smith said the contract will be awarded to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder.