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Dec. 2, 2023

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Ridgefield City Council OKs $5M contract for South Royle Road project

Phase two of improvements to wrap up in late 2024

By , Columbian staff writer
4 Photos
On Thursday, the Ridgefield City Council awarded a $5 million contract for the second phase of the South Royle Road improvement project between South 15th Street and South Third Way.
On Thursday, the Ridgefield City Council awarded a $5 million contract for the second phase of the South Royle Road improvement project between South 15th Street and South Third Way. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

The Ridgefield City Council on Thursday approved a $5 million contract for the second phase of the South Royle Road improvement project. South Royle Road functions as a critical corridor that has become more traveled as Ridgefield has grown.

The project upgrades the two-lane road to include a center turn lane at intersections — except at roundabouts — bike lanes in each direction and sidewalks on each side. It will allow cyclists and pedestrians to travel without interruption between Pioneer Street and South Hillhurst Road. The city council expects construction to start later this summer and wrap up in late 2024.

The project’s first phase, which wrapped up this spring, was stymied by delays and mistakes between the city and the contractor, City Manager Steve Stuart said in February. Looking to make the second phase smoother, Ridgefield Public Works Director Chuck Green, who started in January, assured the city council Thursday there were “lessons learned” from the project’s first phase.

Awarding the $5 million contract was delayed by two weeks because of litigation over which company the city chose.

South Royle Road, spanning between Pioneer Street, which connects downtown Ridgefield to Interstate 5, and South Hillhurst Road and the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, is one of the city’s major corridors.

The project is broken up into three phases. Phase one focused on the central section of Royle Road between South 19th Street, South 15th Street and South Wells Drive.

Phase two, which the project is entering, is focused on the northern part of South Royle Road, between South 15th Street and South Third Way.

Phase three will focus on the southern section of the road, between Hillhurst Road and South 19th Street. Its timeline has yet to be determined, and city officials are looking to finalize funding options by 2024.

Lessons learned

The largest delay during the project’s first phase stemmed from coordinating with 14 different utility providers to move their overhead lines into a joint utility trench. Many of the utility providers wanted to use their own contractors for the work, and some were difficult to get responses from, the city said in February.

Learning from the first phase, Green said overhead utilities will be moved to a joint utility trench before starting the road work, as well as additional requirements for the lowest bidder to ensure they’re qualified and experienced.

Green added the city plans to hire a construction management consultant and is zeroing in on one with experience with joint utility trenches.

Colf Construction submitted the lowest bid at $4,798,112; however, it failed to submit the names of subcontractors the bidder intended to work with, as required under state law, within time. By not submitting it in time, the city determined Colf Construction to be out of compliance with state law and thus non-responsive.

Colf Construction protested the city’s decision, which the city denied. Colf argued the city failed to comply with the state law as its invitation to bid did not require bidders to submit a subcontractor list.

Colf Construction obtained a temporary restraining order on the city awarding the contract until there was a Superior Court hearing on its request for a temporary injunction. The court found in favor of the city and denied Colf’s request for a temporary injunction.

Western United Civil Group LLC, of Yacolt, submitted the second lowest bid at $4,945,434 and was awarded the contract at the Thursday council meeting.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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