Despite the fact that four of the six construction bids for the first phase of the Willowridge Levee were disqualified, the parish will still get a bargain if a contract with Southern Delta Construction, LLC is approved by the St. Charles Parish Council.
Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc., the engineering firm working with the parish on levee design, recommended that Southern Delta Construction be awarded the contract after their bid of $5,785,551. The bid amount is much lower than the estimated $8.3 million price tag of the project.
While Southern Delta Construction’s bid was lower than the estimate, the parish actually received two bids for about $4.7 million from Hamp’s Construction LLC and Ceres Environmental Services, Inc.
Hamp’s bid was disqualified in part because the parish said the company ignored the specifications established by the design engineer. The parish also rejected the bid “because certain present or former executive employees, officers, directors, stockholders, partners, or owners have been found guilty in New Orleans Criminal District Court of illegally disposing of solid waste in a wetland area.”
The parish disqualified Ceres Environmental’s bid because they believe the contract specifications cannot be met without additional modifications and price increases to their contract. Ceres also ignored specification established by the design engineer, the parish said.
Two other construction firms, Beverly Construction Co., LLC and Civil Construction Contractors, LLC, were disqualified because they did not sign the bond form correctly. The paperwork the parish provided to the companies only had one signature line, however, the form asked for two signatures.
Beverly Construction turned in the highest bid at more than $8.9 million, while Civil Construction’s bid was $8.5 million.
The first phase of the Willowridge Levee in Luling 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.
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.