Bellevue to re-bid streetscape design

Bellevue Borough will re-bid the design services contract for the next phase of the Lincoln Avenue streetscape project, after a number of elected officials were reluctant to continue working with the company that has been responsible for the engineering since the project's inception.

The borough received only two bids for the next phase of the problematic streetscape project, one from the past firm, CEC, for $28,000, and the second from the borough's own engineering firm, HRG, for $47,000. The work would include design and specification preparation along with construction oversight, as have the past two contracts for engineering services.

The streetscape project has had more than its share of debate from the beginning. The curb bump-outs were a source of contention both in the design phase and after construction, when the issue of flooding and maintenance became issues. Bellevue already has had to rebuild one of the crosswalks constructed only a year ago, while other officials attempt to determine if it was a design or construction error that led to the crosswalk being undermined.

Even during the first year of design and master plan development, the borough missed several submission deadlines that endangered the grant funds that pay for most of the work.

Finally, the master plan approved by council initially, with a limited number of bump-outs, appeared to have been abandoned during the last phase of work, with many officials not knowing about the addition of bump-outs until construction on them already had begun.

Council took time before its pre-council meeting Tuesday to meet with both CEC and HRG about their bids. Later in the meeting, council members discussed their options.

Despite the nearly-$20,000 price difference between the two companies, council member Lynn Tennant Heffley said that there have been too many problems with CEC, from adversarial communication problems to the drainage situation that is flooding the main street now.

"I would never vote for them again," she said, and suggested that council either accept the HRG bid or advertise for new bids.

Council member Linda Woshner said that whether the drainage problems are caused by design or construction, the responsibility for failing to oversee the construction falls on CEC.

Council members Henry Lenard and Matt Senvisky were in favor of rebidding the contract.

Council president Mark Helbling said that although there have been problems with the streetscape, "some of it wasn't their (CEC's) fault.

Council voted unanimously to re-advertise for bids, with proposals due by Oct. 31. Council members Kathy Coder and Frank Camello were absent.

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