U.S. 93 project comes in under bid

KINGMAN - The Arizona Department of Transportation is on track to save nearly $1 million in federal stimulus funds on one of the agency's top project priorities for Mohave County.

The project involves constructing a new two-lane southbound roadway along U.S. Route 93 about 17 miles north of Wikieup, from milepost 106 to milepost 104.1. The two new lanes will turn that stretch of 93 into a four-lane divided highway, which is among ADOT's top goals, according to spokeswoman Michele Beggs.

"U.S. 93 has been a priority for converting from a two-lane to a four-lane highway for a number of reasons," Beggs said. "Our top priority is to continue to improve safety. Number two would be increased traffic capacity - U.S. 93 is a major travel corridor between the city of Phoenix and the city of Las Vegas and as part of the Canamex Trade Corridor, which extends from Mexico to Canada."

ADOT opened bids on the project June 12, with the low bid coming from Phoenix-based Ames Construction at $5.85 million, well below the department's estimated construction cost of $6.82 million.

In total, the project is programmed to receive $13 million in federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which Beggs said is being used to pay for design and engineering costs, as well as construction.

Nevertheless, Ames' low bid is just the latest in a series of low bids for ARRA projects that Beggs said would help to fund even more stimulus projects, since the unused portion could be funneled into other entries on ADOT's sprawling wish list.

"We're already realizing a significant cost savings for ARRA projects statewide," Beggs said. "The competitive bids so far are encouraging - every dollar saved in the bid process allows ADOT to add additional projects to support communities, get people back to work and improve our highway system."

Beggs said the state transportation board will award the contract for the U.S. 93 project at its upcoming meeting in Payson on July 17. Once that occurs, she said, construction would begin within 30 days.

Beggs said she did not know how many new local construction jobs the project would create. After the project is officially awarded, however, she said the contractor and all involved agencies would hold a partnering meeting to work out subcontractor and other job details.