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Topsham selectmen choose Snowden for Bay Park drainage study

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Topsham selectmen choose Snowden for Bay Park drainage study

TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen on July 16 unanimously selected Snowden Consulting Engineers of Oakland to conduct an engineering study for drainage improvements at Bay Park.

Although the town budgeted $60,000 for that study, the five bids it received for the work all came in well under that amount. While Snowden's bid of $30,175 was the highest the town received, its proposal took the lead due in large part to its inclusion of a full subsurface investigation, with test borings and test pits, geared toward meeting the town's goal of ensuring that the proposed storm drain improvements would take care of the continuing water problem in that area of town.

Pine Tree Engineering submitted the lowest bid of $22,700, followed by Sitelines with $22,800, Oak Engineering with $28,753 and SYTDesign Consultants with $29,000. Public Works Director Rob Pontau, who worked with a review team of town staff to whittle down the proposals, said the scoring of the bidders was too close to call, leading to interviews with the firms and ultimately a unanimous high score and recommendation by the team.

"Proposals are different from bids," Pontau said. "They're proposing a certain scope of work, we give them some basics, but it's hard to get apples to apples of what each firm is proposing needs to be done out there, so that's why we didn't just go with the low bid."

Pontau said the team members felt the approximately $7,000 difference in Snowden's proposal cost from the cheapest proposal was "well worth being spent."

He has said that a "ballpark idea" for the drainage improvement project would begin with installation of a new outlet along Hunter Lane, as well as a new storm drain along Hunter Lane.

After that could come a 12-inch to 18-inch under-drain, which stretches about 1,400 feet along Goldeneye Drive from Hunter Lane to Teal Road, and a 12-inch to 18-inch under-drain along Eider Lane.

The pipes in Bay Park have little slope for water to flow, Pontau has said, noting that installing a new outlet at a lower elevation would create more slope for the system.

The study is meant to provide firm costs for later construction. Until that time, Pontau has estimated that the ultimate project could cost $700,000 to $1.5 million.

Pontau said the study will be complete by Sept. 29. The beginning of construction will depend on approval of funding at Town Meeting.

Earlier in the meeting, Town Manager Jim Ashe reported that the Police Department has conducted 12 details in recent weeks on Middlesex Road in response to complaints of speeding there. Officers issued seven warnings, as well as one summons for a motorist traveling 53 mph in the 40 mph zone. The average speed of motorists the officers tracked was between 38 and 42 mph.

Pontau and Police Chief Tim Young are looking for a good place to install a crosswalk to increase pedestrian safety in the area, Ashe said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.