Pigeon Forge City officials approved a nearly $1 million contract this week to build a road connecting Teaster Lane and The Parkway, and debated ways in which the city could reduce this cost through negotiations with the contractor and by doing some of the work in-house.
Charles Blalock and Sons presented a sole bid on the project in April for $967,065.
“Since that time we have had an opportunity to sit down and talk to Blalock and we have negotiated down some of their prices on the roadway, and it’s a token amount of approximately $22,000,” Wilbur Smith and Associates representative Terry Grubb told city officials at a meeting of the city’s board of commissioners.
“Through a combination of Blalock adjusting some of their prices and us reconsidering some of our estimated prices, we’ve come to a total price of $945,035 on the project,” Grubb said.
Through the commissioners’ discussion with Grubb, it was pointed out that many aspects of the proposed project overlap a sewer project that is already underway, also on a Blalock contract.
“You do have a sewer project going on, on the Parkway,” Grubb said. “We believe that there are some opportunities to reduce some of the cost on this project by letting some of those items be taken care of in the sewer contract,” he said.
“We’re not just simply shifting money. There are some of these items that are already included in the sewer job that can be taken care of there,” Grubb told the commissioners. “Once we coordinate with that sewer job, we believe this amount will be further reduced.”
“Earlene has asked Mark Miller (Pigeon Forge Director of Public Works) and myself to look at the possibility of the city perhaps doing the water and sewer portion of the project,” Grubb said, estimating a potential savings, or a reduction on the Blalock contract of approximately $237,000, should the city elect to pull the water and sewer out of the contract.
That would then leave the city paying the materials on that water and sewer work plus time associated with putting it in. Miller has estimated that the materials cost would be approximately $100,000 to $125,000, according to Grubb.
The process would involve issuing change orders to reduce the contract amount with Blalock as the project progresses.
The contract sets a substantial completion date for Blalock’s end at April 1, 2007, and total completion for May 1, 2007. “As we understand that will coincide with the opening and the completion of the Christmas Inn Hotel,” Grubb said.
By the recommendation of city attorney Jim Gass a motion to approve the contract included the city’s right to issue a change order downgrading the contract by $237,261.
The Inn at Christmas Place is a 145-unit hotel to be located across the street from the Christmas Place retail center.