A bid opening on the reconstruction of La Cañada from Calle Concordia to Ina Road has been pushed by Sept. 16 by the Pima County Department of Transportation.

Bids were originally due to be opened last Wednesday, Aug. 26. That date was moved to Sept. 2 at the request of contractors, who "asked for a little more bidding time," according to Ana Olivares, deputy director of the Department of Transportation.

DOT further decided to fold a separate plant-salvaging contract into the overall project, and set the complete bid opening date for Sept. 16.

Pima County is estimating the cost to build a four-lane, 3.07-mile section of La Cañada between $22.6 million and $24.5 million. The project has generated many inquiries from contractors, Olivares said. "The whole construction industry has been slow for the past few months, so any construction project put out for bids generates a lot of interest," she said.

As an example, on Aug. 18 the county opened bids on improvements to Sunrise Drive between Craycroft and Kolb roads.

The county's estimate for the project was $11.198 million. There were seven bids, ranging from Meridian Engineering's highest bid of $8.57 million to The Ashton Company's apparent low bid of $7.385 million, which is $3.8 million or 34 percent below the estimate. Pima County Supervisors may award the Sunrise contract Tuesday.

"We're happy about the low bid, but as everybody knows, the actual cost of a project isn't known until the end of the project," Olivares said. "Change orders are very common in every road construction project."

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