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New bids for Honolulu rail millions above estimates

  • MARCEL HONORE / MHONORE@STARADVERTISER.COM
    The lowest of the five bids that came in to build rail stations
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Bids unsealed Tuesday for the Honolulu rail project have again come in above estimates, despite rail officials’ efforts to control costs by repackaging work into smaller groups.

The lowest of the five bids that came in to build rail stations at Leeward Community College, Waipahu and West Loch came in from Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. at $78.9 million. The most expensive was submitted by Ralph S. Inouye Co., Ltd., at $117.5 million.

The city, meanwhile, had estimated that work would cost anywhere between $60 million and $75 million.

The bids were the first to be unsealed since officials canceled bids that had come in vastly over budget in the fall.

Bids for the three-station group opened on Tuesday had originally been part of that larger, nine-station group that came in at least $100 million above the approximately $184 million price tag that had been expected.

During the past several months, rail officials have attempted to manage expectations on this first new batch of bids. HART Executive Director Dan Grabauskas has said that the agency expects to see more effective cost reductions in the bids that come back later this year for additional rail work.

HART says it still has about 40 percent of the project left to go out to bid. Rail officials had estimated that remaining construction would cost more than $1.3 billion, according to 2012 budget figures.

Now, rail officials are bracing for the actual costs to complete that work to be much higher — although they say they’re repackaging the contracts in hopes that the bids don’t come in as dramatically over budget as they did originally for the first nine stations.

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Correction: HART officials say they still have about 40 percent of the project left to go out to bid. An earlier version of this story reported that HART said they have 40 percent of the project left to build.

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