Update: Topsham selectmen choose Snowden Consulting for Bay Park study

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TOPSHAM —The Board of Selectmen on Thursday unanimously chose Snowden Consulting Engineers of Oakland to conduct an engineering study at Bay Park, Public Works Director Rob Pontau said.

Although the town budgeted $60,000 for that study, the five bids it received for the work all came in well under that amount. Snowden submitted a bid of $30,175, Pontau reported.

The town is seeking a plan for groundwater drainage improvements in the Bay Park residential area. Pontau said a “ballpark idea” for the project would start with installation of a new outlet along Hunter Lane, as well as a new storm drain along Hunter Lane. Following that could be a 12-inch to 18-inch under-drain stretching 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.

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

The winning proposal “is going to be a full set of plans for the entire project,” Pontau said. “If the town wants to bond it all, we can do all five phases. If the town wants to do it piece by piece or not at all, then that’ll be up to the voters to decide.”

In April the phases, as discussed by Pontau and Town Manager Jim Ashe, were planned to possibly stretch as far into the future as 2013. Funding will influence that schedule.

“What we’ll end up getting out of this is some plans, possibly some further study of what the problems are down there, as well as some accurate cost estimates for construction,” Pontau said.

He pointed out that with a normal bidding process the town might be looking at the lowest bidder and dictating the work to be done, “in reality we’re asking them what needs to be done.”

The five bidders all proposed different methods of addressing the project, Pontau said. They are Snowden Consulting Engineers of Oakland, SYTDesign Consultants of Cumberland and Brunswick, Sitelines of Brunswick, Pine Tree Engineering of Bath and Oak Engineers of Portland.

“They all had very good proposals and very good pricing, so it made for a difficult recommendation,” Pontau said.

The bids ranged between $22,000 and nearly $31,000, Pontau said, the most expensive being about half the $60,000 the town budgeted for fiscal 2010.

As far as actual construction goes, Pontau said that $700,000 to $1.5 million is the possible range until the study provides firm costs.

Pontau said he worked with Town Planner Rich Roedner, Economic and Community Development Director John Shattuck, Assistant/Natural Resource Planner Rod Melanson and Assessor Justin Hennessey to score the bids and interview the bidders.

While the beginning of construction will depend on approval of funding at Town Meeting, the study will be complete by Sept. 29, Pontau said. Public meetings on the matter will have been held by that time.

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

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.