Honolulu rail project issues request for station package bids

Efforts to control the skyrocketing cost of rail have begun.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) officials put out a request for bids for the first rail station package Friday.

A request for bids was issued for the Farrington Highway Station Group. The first of three rail contracts, consisting of the West Loch, Waipahu Transit Center and Leeward Community College stations, it’s an estimated $60 million to $75 million project.

The new contract specifies that the contractor must pay an extra charge if the job isn’t done on time. If the project isn’t substantially completed by the end of September 2017, the contractor must pay $5,000 a day.

In the previous contract, there was no cap as to how much a contractor had to pay if the job was late.

Earlier this year, HART was seeking separate contracts for each of the first nine rail stations. But the bids came in 63 percent higher than expected, so those were scrapped, and the work has now been bundled hoping to save money.

“So while there’s some opportunity for us to look everywhere and at everything, I just happen to be realistic that with the magnitude of what we’re facing,” said HART executive director Dan Grabauskas. “I think we’re going to have to look at multiple solutions.”

Another big change? Instead of the contractor, HART will pay the fees for the main permit, which likely to be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And HART revealed potential petroleum-contaminated soil at the sites of the West Loch and Waipahu stations, but unlikely at Leeward Community College.

Bids for this package contract will open in March 2015. HART says a request for the two other rail station packages will go out next spring.

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