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Shawme Dam Project Awarded To RI Firm For Bid Of $785,123

Posted in: Sandwich News, Top Stories
Aug 29, 2008 - 12:46:19 PM
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SANDWICH- It looks as though work to repair the failing Shawme Dam will finally begin.
Last week, the board of selectmen voted unanimously to award the construction contract to John Rocchio Corporation of Smithfield, Rhode Island,  the lowest of the 13 bids received on the project. The corporation’s bid came in at $785,123, compared to the high bid of $1,582,746.95 offered by Lawrence-Lynch Corporation of Falmouth.
Town Manager George H. Dunham said that he, along with Kurt Staller of McMahon & Associates out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the engineering company designing the project, reviewed the list of bids as well as the costs associated with each part of the construction project and felt that John Rocchio presented the best bid in terms of cost and experience.
Although the board voted unanimously to accept Mr. Dunham’s recommendation for this project, they were concerned about a lack of money appropriated to ensure quality construction of the project. The corporation offered up only $1 for costs associated with quality control.
“We have already seen this project grow in cost since its inception. I am nervous with a bid that is one-quarter of a million dollars below the average. I’m concerned if they miss the boat we will have to go back to Town Meeting,” Selectman Dana Barrette said.
Mr. Dunham explained that the bidder has experience with large projects such as this one and that the company received very good references from the Town of Milford on a $3 million project that John Rocchio Corporation completed there. “There were no change orders. It was on time and on budget. It was a difficult project and the town indicated it was happy with what they did,” Mr. Dunham said.
He added that Mr. Staller would be on site periodically overseeing the project.
But the word periodically concerned Selectman F. Randal Hunt.
“What I heard is that Kurt will be there from time to time. I would rather spend $15,000 to hire someone to make sure everything goes in the right direction,” he said.
Mr. Hunt cited large projects such as the addition and renovations at Falmouth High School and the Big Dig as examples of what can happen when somebody is not constantly on site watching out for the interests of the town.
The board decided that since this is the lowest bid and does not eat up all of the money that is earmarked for construction costs, that the unused funds could be spent to hire a qualified person to oversee the project to ensure that it is on time and on budget.
The project to repair the Shawme Dam is one that has taken longer than expected and has already cost more than originally anticipated. Initially, the project was expected to be completed by December 2007. However, unanticipated permits, such as an archaeological survey required by the state, have stalled the project. In addition to the delays in getting this project completed, there has been a rise in anticipated costs from the original estimate of $871,000 to one that hovers at $1,150,000. Funding for the project is coming from a $350,000 state grant as well as from the Community Preservation Act account. Two years ago, voters approved spending $400,000 from the CPA to fix the earthen dam. This past May, voters approved an additional $340,000 from that account to cover increases in the project’s cost, such as a rise in the cost of materials. The cost for an aluminum fish ladder, alone, rose from $20,000 in 2006 to $90,000 in 2008.
Mr. Dunham told the board that there is a 30-day appeal period on the bidding process and once that has passed, work on the dam should begin by late fall and be completed by early winter.