Several construction bids for the first phase of the Willowridge Levee in Luling came in much lower than expected on Tuesday, including two bids that were around 40 percent lower than cost estimates for the project.
Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc., the engineering firm working with the parish on levee design, estimated that the first phase would cost $8.3 million, but the apparent low bidder in the project, Hamp’s Construction, LLC, said they could construct the first phase of the levee for $4,742,444.42. Ceres Environmental, of Brooklyn Park, Minn., had the second-lowest bid at $4,746,623.
The highest bid was turned in by Beverly Construction, LLC for $8,982,847.
All bids are currently under review.
The first phase will consist of clearing and grubbing the right of way and construction of a 5.5-foot-levee berm from Peterson Canal to an existing berm behind Willowridge Drive. There will be temporary gaps at Willowridge Drive and Cypress Drive to keep the current drainage flow in tact until the entire levee can be completed.
The entire Willowridge levee, which received permit approval in 2011, will be built in five phases and is designed to enclose 27 acres of wetlands near the Davis Pond Diversion canal and another 23 acres of retention area south of the intersection of Willowdale Boulevard and Beaupre Drive. All five phases of the Willowridge levee were estimated to cost $29 million.
The state Department of Transportation and Development will provide the parish with $6.8 million in reimbursement funding for all phases of the Willowridge levee. Parish spokeswoman Renee Simpson said the DOTD has already reviewed and approved the plans and specifications for the project.
After the first phase is completed, the parish will begin construction of a second phase that includes building a pump station and detention pond. The parish has another agreement in place with DOTD to fund the Willowridge pump station for about $5.7 million. As with the other DOTD funding, the parish will have to pay to build the pump station but will be reimbursed as construction moves along.
The third phase of the project calls for the construction of a 5.5-foot-levee from Willowridge Drive to Davis Pond. The fourth phase will raise the entire levee to 7 feet and the final phase will fortify the interior of the levee.