Inflation Will Impact Lincoln Sidewalk Project Costs

With inflation driving costs up on everything for everyone across the country, city officials will be keeping a close eye on upcoming project bids this year.

At the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety meeting Friday, City Planner Justin Taylor submitted the construction inspection contract between the city and The Troyer Group to conduct engineering and inspection services for the Lincoln Neighborhood Sidewalk Project. The contract is for $156,800, but it’s an 80/20 match with the Indiana Department of Transportation so INDOT will reimburse $125,440 of the cost with federal funds and the local match is $31,360.

The contract is part of a $1.6 million pedestrian infrastructure project that will improve walkability for students and residents to the west of Lincoln Elementary School, according to information provided for the meeting. Taylor said the plan was to let the bidding in April.

“Hopefully, if all goes well, we’d be working on construction this summer. With that said, a lot of bids are coming in high for these INDOT projects so we’re just keeping an eye on those trends and what’s happening, so hopefully our bid is competitive when we let this project,” Taylor said.

As it is a Local Public Agency (LPA) project with INDOT, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said the inspection services are required to make sure the project is constructed to specifications.

The Board of Works approved the contract by a vote of 2-0, with member George Clemens absent from the meeting.

Thallemer mentioned that Winona Lake’s roundabout project at the intersection of Argonne Road, Winona Avenue, Kings Highway and Park Avenue was delayed this past week and will have to be rebid because the only bid that was received was at least a million dollars more than the engineer’s estimate. That project also is an INDOT 80/20 match, and the town was awarded a $847,320 grant for the roundabout six years ago.

He asked Taylor about the timeline for the Lincoln project.

“I spoke with our engineer this morning and he indicated that a lot of these INDOT projects are coming in around 100% over budget currently. So we are just watching that trend,” Taylor said. “He did say that this is a sidewalk project. We have some local contractors who may be able to have some competitive bids on this, and there’s not a lot of utility issues, but it’s just supply and demand. A lot of the supply chains are limiting what contractors can do and if they have to meet certain windows, they might just throw a high number out there. We’re just keeping an eye on it at this point. We’ll know more in April, obviously, but we’re just following those steps as an INDOT project and hoping for the best.”

Thallemer said, “This is always a concern with LPA projects. This project we were awarded about three years ago, so it takes about three years to get through all the engineering and the preliminary work before you go to let. It would seem very natural that prices are going to go up, just naturally in three years. We’re always holding our breath when bids come in, but in this environment, it’s more than likely going to happen. It’s not ‘if,’ it’s ‘how much?’”

He said that will probably apply to all the city projects going forward.

“And for what it’s worth, this contract (with Troyer Group) was on budget, so this was the initial estimated amount and they were able to meet that. From three years ago, they had an amount for construction inspection, so, so far so good,” Taylor said.

“We’ll keep our fingers crossed,” Thallemer stated.