The long anticipated Old Woodward construction is looking to begin in spring 2018, with the city of Birmingham beginning to advertise a request for proposal (RFP) for the work that will be done on Old Woodward Avenue between Brown and Oakland streets in the city’s downtown core.
The city is looking to open bids they receive in December, tentatively targeting January of 2018 to make a final recommendation of a preferred contractor on the project to the Birmingham City Commission, with the anticipation of construction beginning in the spring. The hope is to complete the project in late summer 2018.
“This is an ideal time of year to bid a project of this nature prior to the wave of construction industry bidding next January and February,” said city engineer Paul O’Meara. “We anticipate high interest in the contracting community to take on a job of this size and scope.”
Road Commission of Oakland County (RCOC) spokesperson Craig Bryson echoed that November and December is a common time to bid out spring road construction projects. “It all depends on when you want the work to start. We do a lot of bids in November and December for spring construction,” Bryson said.
The Old Woodward road project will completely reconstruct the roadway from Willits to Brown, and will result in major improvements below ground, with a new water main installed for improved water flow which should reduce the possibility of water main breaks; new combined sewers as well as improvements to existing sewers, and the installation of new sewer linings; and the installation of a fiber optic system that will be available for future use by suppliers as well as providing flexible adaption for future technologies that will reduce the need for future digging. A new irrigation system will be installed to enhance tree and landscape growth, and a separate electric system to enhance lighting options along with conveniences like mobile device charging stations will be installed. Infrastructure for new street lights and traffic signals will be put in at the same time.
Above ground, sidewalks will be modernized in order to allow for improved handicap access; there will be wide mid-block crosswalks, as well as a planted median in the roadway in certain areas, as well as many other beautifying improvements.
“The infrastructure in our downtown is among the oldest in the city,” said O’Meara, noting that some of the pipes date back to the late 1800’s. “We recognize that this project will be painful in the short-term with the temporary construction disruptions, however, we believe that this necessary work will result in a better downtown core in the long run.”
The RFP is designed with incentives, as well as penalties, to bidding contractors, in order to secure a contractor that will complete the project as fast as possible, O’Meara said.