Commission Looks To Cut Cost For Airport Road

SPRINGDALE — A contract to build an access road for the city airport will be delayed after the low bid was more than the money available.

The Springdale Airport Commission voted to table the contract until costs are cut or more money becomes available. Using the low bid, the cost of the road would be $77,000 more than available from grants awarded for the project.

The airport received a Federal Aviation Administration grant for $678,000 combined with a matching 10 percent grant from the Arkansas Aeronautics Board, according to bid documents from Garver Engineering, the firm that designed the road.

“I would like to see if we can negotiate with the low bidder to reduce their bid,” said Micah Thomason, commissioner.

Greg Willoughby, commissioner, said other negotiations could reduce costs.

“The engineering cost is 18 percent,” Willoughby said. “I think that is high. Maybe we can get that reduced.”

The $640,081 bid meant a total project cost of $840,981. The engineer’s estimate for construction was $555,000, according to bid documents. The commission would need $77,000 more to pay for the road.

Other possibilities included not building curb and gutters along the street, said Neal Johnson, commission chairman. According to the low bid, that costs $62,576.

Building the road would take airport traffic off a street blocked by school traffic twice a day. Parents dropping off and picking up students at Jones Elementary School block the street for almost 30 minutes each time, said Wyman Morgan, city director of administration and financial services.

The street would begin on Powell Street south of the school, run behind two businesses and connect with the terminal building parking lot. The connection to Airport Avenue, the old access street, would be blocked.

Several city projects ready for construction recently have come in with higher-than-expected bids. The low bid to build the city’s southeast park was $1 million more than estimated. Officials hope to cut costs in the $16.1 million project, which is being paid for by bond money.

The City Council is considering reducing the number of projects in the street bond program after costs ran higher than expected on some projects. The bond sale, which paid for park construction, also raised $43 million for streets.