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Horseshoe Bay takes look at Bay West Bridge issue, Martin Park improvements

HORSESHOE BAY — City Council voted to again seek bids on a new bridge for Bay West Boulevard, after an earlier deal collapsed because the price kept rising.

The council wants the next design to include the original arch but also a standard structure for the bridge, which spans a high-water area.

"I think there are substantial savings if you do a standard bridge," said Charlie Fowler of Bury+Partners, an engineering firm assisting the city in the project.

He spoke during the council’s regular meeting March 22.

The original design called for an arch-supported structure.

When officials opened bids in October, the lowest came in at $710,104 from Austin Bridge and Road, according to officials.

The council at the time voted to accept the bid, but with a specific change order to bring the cost down to $650,000.

But in December when the bid was resubmitted, the cost with the change order actually jumped to $875,000.

The council voted to reject the bid.

A standard structure would meet all the city’s needs, yet at a lower cost, Fowler said.

"I’m suggesting a six-figure number less than ($650,000)," he said.

The council asked Fowler to help design a second plan with the standard structure, as well as handle the bidding process.

Mayor Bob Lambert said he would like the city to offer both designs for the bidding.

More contractors would likely show interest in the project if it’s a standard bridge, which is basically a pre-formed structure set across the waterway, Fowler said.

In other business the council also took steps to improve Martin Park, which is adjacent to City Hall, No. 1 Community Drive.

Lacey Smith, the park’s committee secretary, told the council they felt the best choice was Game Time after reviewing several companies’ products and prices.

The plan calls for replacing the current playground equipment including slides and swings.

"The current equipment is not up to standards," she said.

The plan includes two areas, each geared to children of different ages.

The city has budgeted $50,000 this year for improving Martin Park, though the project could prove more expensive, Lambert said.

The council members voiced their support for the improvements, but asked the committee and city staff to work more with Game Time on the cost and fencing.

daniel@thepicayune.com