50s Bikeway project delayed

50s Bikeway project delayed

A Sunday ride-9

They’ll have to wait a bit longer
for a quality bike route.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation has announced a delay in the construction of the long-awaited 50s Bikeway Project. The $1.5 million, federally-funded project that will create an important north-south bikeway along 52nd and 53rd Avenues between southeast and northeast Portland, was originally slated to begin construction this summer. However, according to PBOT Project Manager Rich Newlands, the City received bids to complete the work that were “significantly above the project’s construction contract estimate.” This unforeseen situation means construction won’t begin until February 2014.

The new “anticipated” date of construction comes a full three and-a-half years after the project got off the ground in September 2010 and 29 months after City Council unanimously approved the project back in 2011.

“I regret this disappointing news and appreciate your patience.”
— Rich Newlands, PBOT project manager

Newlands emailed the project’s citizen advisory committee with the bad news yesterday, saying that the high bids were due to a tight construction market:

“The project went out to bid in June, with the bid opening on July 9. Unfortunately the two bids received were significantly above the project’s construction contract estimate. The low number of bidders and the high bids received strongly indicates that the construction market has recently reached saturation. Instead of further reducing the scope of the project, we have decided to re-bid the project in November. This means construction is now anticipated to begin in Febrauary of 2014, with completion more dependent on when the weather conditions allow for the striping work in later Spring…

… I regret this disappointing news and appreciate your patience.”

A source at PBOT confirms that high construction bids are to blame for the delay. “We didn’t like the bid we got,” our source said, while assuring us that there are not technical issues with the project.

Once completed the 50s Bikeway will fill a 4.3 mile gap in the bike network with a mix of bike lanes, bike boulevards and crossing treatments at eight major arterials along the route. The project is within a half-mile of 20,000 Portland residents and 12 schools. Learn more in our archives or on the City’s official project page.

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