Bellingham bid error won’t delay Cordata neighborhood trail for long

An error by the city Parks and Recreation Department won’t significantly delay construction of a 1,700-foot trail in the Cordata neighborhood. The trail segment should get built this summer, and another section of the same trail also could be built this year, said Leslie Bryson, the parks department’s design and development manager.

Parks staff will ask the City Council on Monday, June 1, to reject all bids received for trail construction because the city advertised an incorrect figure for the amount of rebar, or reinforcing steel bars, needed to build a concrete pedestrian bridge.

The city called for 64 pounds of rebar, when the correct amount was 370 pounds, Bryson said.

The mistake was large enough to affect the outcome of the bid opening on May 12. The lowest bidder, Faber Construction of Lynden, came in just $1,000 lower than the next-lowest bidder, Razz Construction of Bellingham. The project will cost about $400,000 to build.

Razz Construction protested the bid result and pointed out the city’s mistake.

“We said the best thing to do is rebid this and make sure this is corrected,” Bryson said. Council will decide whether to do that at its 7 p.m. meeting on Monday at City Hall, 210 Lottie St.

A design consultant made the error, Bryson said, but it was missed by several parks staff members who reviewed the bid before advertising it.

“Ultimately it is the city’s responsibility,” she said.

The project will extend an existing trail in Cordata Park that ends at Horton Road to the southern property line of Cordata Elementary School. Construction should start in late July, Bryson said.

Rob Janicki, who is building homes and apartments at West Cordata Green south of the school, wants to extend the trail even farther, possibly this summer, Bryson said. The developer, called RJ Group, has asked if it could build the trail from the school south to June Road and get a discount on the parks impact fee, Bryson said. The fee helps pay for parks and trails to meet the recreational demands of residents in new developments.