Friday, September 19, 2014

Mountain Rides rejects bids for hub

Ketchum transportation project delayed until 2015

Express Staff Writer

Construction of a proposed Ketchum transportation hub will be delayed at least until 2015 following rejection Wednesday by the Mountain Rides Transportation Authority board of directors of all bids to build the project.
    The hub, which would serve as a transfer point for Mountain Rides bus routes serving the Ketchum-Sun Valley area, has been approved by the Mountain Rides board and the city of Ketchum for construction at the intersection of Sun Valley Road and East Avenue. As planned, elements of the hub would be built at all four corners of the intersection.
    “We only got two bids and both of them were over our budget,” Mountain Rides Executive Director Jason Miller said Thursday. “This pushes it to spring. We’ll rebid probably in March.”
    Mountain Rides had intended that the hub be built this fall. Instead, Miller said Mountain Rides now plans for construction to start in late April of 2015 and be finished by late June of that year.
    Mountain Rides advertised for bids in August for construction of the hub and received bids from Conrad Brothers Construction, of Hailey, and Sawtooth Construction, of Ketchum. Conrad Brothers submitted a bid for $743,928 and Sawtooth Construction for $1,369, 313.
    Mountain Rides has $365,000 budgeted for construction of the hub, with the bulk of the funding coming from a Federal Transit Administration grant.
    A preliminary design provides for sidewalk and right-of-way modifications, including landscaping, signage and lights, new pavers and bike rack installation. The design also includes construction of bus shelters at the Sun Valley Visitor Center and at The Elephant’s Perch outdoor sports store, installation of electrical lines and construction of bulbouts at all four corners of the intersection.
    Mountain Rides intends that the hub be constructed to accommodate up to six parked buses.
    Miller told the board of directors at Wednesday’s meeting that before the bid is re-advertised next spring that “value engineering” will be performed to “refine the scope of the project and break apart the bid into a must-have base bid and additional bid alternatives to allow more options.” Miller said further that he will look into the possibility of additional project funding from the Federal Transit Administration.
Budget approved
    In other business, the board of directors approved a $2.5 million operating budget for fiscal year 2015, which starts on Oct 1. The budget is about 4 percent higher than the fiscal year 2014 budget of $2.4 million.
    For operational income, Mountain Rides anticipates receiving $909,000 in federal funding and $1,028,920 in contributions from its funding partners, which includes Blaine County, the cities of Ketchum, Sun Valley and Hailey and Sun Valley Co. The remainder of the funding is expected from fares from the organization’s Valley Route and Vanpool services, advertising and charter bus services.
The operational budget provides funding for free “around town” bus services in the Ketchum-Sun Valley area and in Hailey, for paid-fare services on the Valley Route connecting the Bellevue-Hailey area with the Ketchum-Sun Valley area, and for paid vanpool services that provide worker transportation from the Magic Valley to the Wood River Valley.
    The board of directors also approved a $2.1 million capital budget, bringing the total budget to about $4.6 million. The capital budget, which includes unspent federal funds from fiscal year 2014, is primarily federal dollars intended to fund construction of the Ketchum transportation hub, a transportation center planned for construction in Bellevue and for other capital improvements.

Public workshops
Mountain Rides Transportation Authority has scheduled two public workshops for Thursday, Sept. 25, to receive public input on a bus service plan for fiscal year 2015. The first workshop, intended mainly for comment on the Ketchum-Sun Valley area Blue, Green, Red, Silver and Bronze routes, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. onboard a bus parked at Ketchum Town Square. The second workshop, intended for comment on the Valley and Hailey routes, will be held onboard a bus from 4-6 p.m. at the Park and Ride at the intersection of Bullion and River streets in Hailey.

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