Council reviewing bids for Riverlands drainage project

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 18, 2010



EDGARD – The St. John the Baptist Parish Council on Tuesday reviewed six bids for drainage improvement work in the Riverlands subdivision of LaPlace, although all six came in above the estimated budget for the project.

The parish administration has set aside $1.2 million from the 2009 bond issue to fund the improvements, but the lowest bid of the six came in at $1.49 million from Command Construction Industries of Metairie. Although all bids came in over the estimated budget, parish administrators still requested that the council take the bids under advisement.

The over budget bids were a point of contention for Councilman Ronnie Smith, who represents the Riverlands area. Smith was hesitant to accept the bids because he wanted to be certain there was enough money in the parish budget to get the project moving right away.

“The people of Riverlands deserve this project,” Smith said. “I know they are tired of their houses getting flooded.”

The project calls for three new pumping stations that will help move water off residential streets and into drainage canals. The identical pumps, which will be placed at the foot of Chattsworth Drive, on Parlange Loop and on Welham Loop, will tie into the Vicknair drainage canal that runs from LaPlace into Lake Pontchartrain.

The remaining five bids for the project were from BLD Services, which bid $1.54 million, Cecil D. Gassiott LLC, which bid $1.55 million, Boh Bros. Construction, which bid $1.87 million, Civil Construction, which bid $1.9 million, and Cycle Construction, which bid $2.04 million.

St. John Chief Financial Officer Pat McTopy said administrators did not have an opportunity to evaluate the bids, but he said other drainage projects from the bond issue had come in under budget and the parish could be able to make up the difference if needed.

At that point, Smith asked for a substitute motion that allows the administration to take the current bids under advisement, but in the event that the parish finds there is not enough money to put the project in motion the parish is allowed to re-bid the project right away.

“I don’t want to waste another month or two on this,” Smith said. “If we can award it, we will award it, but if we don’t have the funds there will be no more delay.”

In other action Tuesday, the council authorized the the parish to execute agreements with the state Department of Transportation and Development for improvements to Airline Highway at the Belle Terre Boulevard, Old Highway 51 and Hemlock Street intersections in LaPlace.

The parish is requesting about $3.6 million for all of the improvements.

The council also authorized the parish to submit a grant application to the state Office of Community Development to help pay for the second phase of renovations to the parish’s Health and Human Services building and also help fund an elevated walkway for the newly completed Edgard raw water intake pump station. The parish is asking for about $139,000.