Construction of the multi-use path on Blue Star Highway in Laketown Township has been delayed until next year after bids came in 30 percent above what was expected.
“I hoped it would be under construction now, but now it’s delayed,” Township Manager Al Meshkin told township board members at their June 7 workshop.
The project is just less than a mile long on the south side of the road from the Shangrai-La Mobile Home Community, 6180 Blue Star Highway, to the Michigan Department of Transportation’s park and ride site at Exit 41 of I-196.
Start and delays
Work began this spring with clearing trees and brush from the path area as the township waited for the state to bid out the project. The bidding was first planned for February but the state needed to settle issues with the width of the bridges, according to Meshkin. A historical review was also needed for an adjoining property before the state could seek bids for the project.
Meshkin expected the bids to go out in May, but the process was delayed a month.
When the bids came in June 2, the project was more than 30 percent over budget.
“The delays are what hurt us. Everybody is booked and too darn busy,” Meshkin said.
The project estimate was $918,313. The low bid was $1,198,076.40 from Brenner Excavating Inc.
The overage was too much to handle.
“I can’t do that. I’m not going to ask for $300,000 more,” he said.
The township declined the bids — the other bid was $1,258,888.40 from Anlaan Corporation – and will re-bid in the fall in hopes of getting more contractors interested. If an acceptable bid comes in, the project could be completed by September 2024.
Reaching new area
The construction of this shared use path will help connect a recreationally and infrastructurally underserved area of the township with transportation options and an area-wide path system.
The path links the 66-site mobile home community with the ride-share lot along the expressway so residents could have easier access to transportation.
The long-term plan for the Blue Star path is to eventually link with that 64th Street path and the Saugatuck Township portion of the Blue Star Trail, a 20-mile paved non-motorized path between Saugatuck and South Haven.
There are no township multi-use paths east of I-196 where this project is located.
Much of the funding for the project is coming from grants. That money is secure and will be available next year, Meshkin said.