Transportation Contracts Okayed

    GRAND RAPIDS — The ITP board recently approved contracts for design, engineering and construction work on the first two phases of The Rapid’s new surface transportation center downtown.

    The surface transportation center will be built on what is now Area 6 of the south DASH lot, behind the Van Andel Arena and west of U.S. 131.

    Phase I will involve construction of a covered, lighted, bus-boarding platform that will include heated shelter areas, information kiosks and a concession area.

    Phase II will involve the construction of The Rapid’s headquarters, which will house administrative offices, ticket sales, public restrooms, a community meeting room and a community-policing substation.

    The board approved a $1 million contract with Progressive AE for architectural and engineering services for the bus platform and administration building.

    The board also agreed to pay Progressive AE some $44,000 to design and implement telephone, paging, audio-visual, fiber optics and related technology for both phases of the project.

    An additional sum of nearly $100,000 was approved for reimbursable expenses, which will only be billed to ITP if used, said Mark Fedorowicz, ITP purchasing manager.

    Fedorowica said he was pleased with how the negotiations with Progressive turned out and felt ITP was getting a competitive rate for a particularly complex project.

    The board also agreed to award a $970,000 contract to Christman Co. for construction management of the first two phases of the project and a $102,000 contract to Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr and Huber for architectural and engineering work related to renovation of The Rapid’s operations and maintenance facility at 333 Wealthy St. SE.

    Construction of the passenger boarding will get underway in February, and The Rapid expects to be operating out of the new surface transportation center by November of next year.

    Greyhound and Indian Trails bus lines will provide intercity bus service out of the center as well.

    The Rapid currently has $16.2 million in federal and state grants or commitments toward the surface transportation center project.

    ITP Executive Director Peter Varga estimates about $5.7 million more is needed for construction and for acquisition of two DASH lots for the project. He will seek a Federal Transit Administration grant in that amount for fiscal 2003.

    He and ITP Chairman George Heartwell plan to take the request to Washington in February.

    Last week, The Rapid made a formal request for $300,000 from the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for relocation of an electrical/fiber optic conduit bank that runs through the DASH Area 6 property.

    The Rapid wants to relocate the conduit bank from the center of the property to its eastern edge. The DDA is likely to act on the request at its Jan. 28 meeting.            

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