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Two bids received for Phase 2 of Airport Road project

fili@samoanews.com

Two companies have submitted bid proposals for the reconstruction and resurfacing of Phase 2 of the Airport Road project, which has an engineer’s estimated cost of close to $12 million and the Procurement Office, is expected to award the contract soon.

Invitation for Bids (IFBs) was issued May 8 by the Office of Procurement for the Route 014-Airport Road Reconstruction project with a closing date of 2 p.m. on June 7.

Samoa News learned last week that two companies submitted bids for the project that government engineers estimate will cost $11.84 million. One bidder is McDonnell Dowell with a bid of $11.03 million and the second bidder is Whitehorn Construction at $7.99 million, according to a document obtained by Samoa News.

Samoa News understands that Whitehorn is a California based company, which last year completed the process of setting up a branch in American Samoa. The company’s California state Contractors license appears valid, and Safeco Insurance Company of America handles its bonding needs.

Responding to Samoa News questions, acting chief procurement officer Sapi Ma’o-Ena confirmed late yesterday afternoon that two bids for this project had been received: one from Whitehorn Construction ($7,997,885) and the other, McConnell Dowell ($11,013,237)

“Unfortunately, I am unable to comment any further as this is still an open procurement,” she said, adding she could not give an actual award date as she is unsure at this time.

The Airport Road is one of the biggest public complaints lodged with the governor’s office as well as the Fono. It has also been a topic of discussion among families and friends — at home, in the office and the Market Place.

Samoa News understands the almost $5 million difference in the two bids has been the subject of a ‘justification’ meeting held between the Procurement Office and Department of Public Works. Attempts to confirm that such a meeting took place has been un-sucessful as of press time.

Road conditions in the territory, including an update on the Airport Road, was one of the issues raised yesterday during a Senate Government Operations Committee hearing, chaired by Sen. Velega Savali Jr.

Public Works Department director Taeaotui Punaofo Tilei told the committee the bidding process has closed and two companies submitted bids, including McConnell Dowell at $11 million and $7 million from an off-island company. Taeaotui didn’t identify the off-island firm by name and none of the committee members asked for more information.

Taeaotui said the Procurement Office is expected to issue the contract award next week, probably Wednesday and once the contract is awarded, it will take some time to have the paper work signed, and construction teams to be mobilized before the work gets underway.

Phase One of the project, which is drainage construction, is completed, according to the DPW director, who was accompanied to the hearing by DPW deputy director Faleosina Voight.

Reconstruction of Route 014 is divided into three sections, with section one — from the three corners of the main road in Nu’uuli to the Fagaima Road turn; section two — from Fagaima turn to the Troop Store, or PX, junction; and the last section from the PX intersection to Pago Pago International Airport and all along the Army Reserve property.

“The last reach of this section [three] incorporates concrete pavement due to the heavy construction equipment and materials that access this road from the concrete plant, asphalt plant and quarry adjacent to the airport,” according to the IFB. “This work will replace the deficient existing concrete paving and provide a structure that will survive the loading placed upon it.”

According to the scope of work, this project includes, among other things, demolition/removal of existing AC pavements — excluding the roundabout intersection, clearing, excavation, bedding and construction of bike lanes, curb and cutter, sidewalk and median as required on the plan.

Removal of some existing primary power poles and installation of underground utilities for street lightning, if required will be included. Other existing structures may be required to be removed and replaced as a consequence of the enlarged footprint of improvements.

A detour road will be required as part of the construction and detour must be maintained with a minimum concrete asphalt as necessary to provide a smooth travel way.

During construction, traffic jams must be avoided with no more than 10 minutes delay allowed, according to the IFB.



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