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New bids for Honolulu rail stations fall within projections

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A view of the progress of the construction of the rail transit project on Oct. 16 along Kualakai Parkway in Kapolei.

Bids by companies vying for a contract to build three rail stations near Pearl City and Aloha Stadium were opened today, with the apparent low bidder submitting a proposal to build the stations for $112.7 million.

The bid by Watts Constructors to build stations at Pearl City, Pearl Highlands and Aloha Stadium was within the projected range forecast by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. HART will now review the bids to ensure they comply with the rail authority’s requirements before making an actual award.

The results of the latest bid opening represent a significant accomplishment in the rail authority’s efforts to restrain the spiraling costs of the 20-mile rail project.

Last year HART scrapped the bids for a larger, nine-station contract package after the lowest bid for the package came in at $294.5 million, or more than $100 million above what HART had budgeted. That package included the Pearl City, Pearl Highlands and Aloha Stadium stations.

HART then split the nine-station package apart into three smaller units made up of three stations each in the hope that more bidders would compete for the work. The idea was that the smaller packages would increase competition and reduce costs.

Dan Grabauskas, chief executive officer of HART, said today that bidding out the stations in three separate groups instead of together has saved HART more than $40 million. 

In June, HART awarded the construction bid for the first three stations in Waipahu to Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. for $78.9 million. That included the stations at West Loch, Waipahu Transit Center and Leeward Community College.

In July, HART awarded the construction contract for the next three stations — the Hoopili, East Kapolei and University of Hawaii at West Oahu stations — to Nan Inc. for $56.1 million.

If HART awards the contract for the next three stations to Watts, the bids this year for all nine stations will total about $247.6 million, considerably less than the 2014 bids for the same stations.

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