More bidders and a potential $9 million savings for Indian Creek project

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

More bidders and a potential $9 million savings for Indian Creek project:

Changes to bid process reap rewards

There’s finally some good news for the troubled Indian Creek road project. After making changes to the bid process, the City of Miami Beach likes the results from the latest round of bidding to complete the road work on Indian Creek between 25th and 41st Streets. The number of qualified bidders tripled and the savings to the City and State of Florida could be $9 million.
Stormwater drainage improvements have been substantially completed in the area but the project has been stalled when the first round of bids to complete the road work were rejected in January after they came in more than double what the City and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) had budgeted. FDOT is paying 80% of the cost of the project, the City of Miami Beach is footing the bill for the remaining 20%.
This time, City Public Works Director Roy Coley said there was a robust process before the Request for Proposals (RFP) went out with several City departments meeting one-on-one with contractors to familiarize them with the project. Once an RFP process starts, communication is limited to written questions and answers so the City wanted to “make sure there were no unknowns” from the beginning in an effort to get a better outcome, Coley said.
Another issue, Coley said, was “The perception seemed to be the City had preferred contractors that the City wanted to do business with” and contractors were not willing to participate in a “resource intensive” and costly process if they thought they wouldn’t be considered.
“We made sure that they understood that Miami Beach was only going to award to the best price of a responsible bidder and that we had no preference against any qualified contractor.”
The new process worked. For this solicitation, the City received bids from a total of 13 companies, 7 of which are qualified. Coley said, “That may not seem like a lot but for us it is. Last time there were only three bidders” and one was non-responsive meaning they were disqualified, leaving only two qualified bidders. 
“And the prices are substantially less,” this time, Coley added. “Bringing in competition and having some really good open dialogue with these contractors has made a big difference in this project solicitation for sure.”
The project is within the “cone of silence” so Coley was not at liberty to discuss bidders or any numbers until an award is made. However, an email exchange that included City Engineer Nelson Perez-Jacome, Assistant City Manager Eric Carpenter, and City Manager Jimmy Morales indicated the savings will be as much as $9 million.
Perez-Jacome’s July 3rd email detailed the staff work “to revise plans, elaborate project specs, and sit with contractors to mitigate unnecessary price inflation. I’m proud to say that yesterday’s bids came in substantially below the previous numbers - a testament to our colleagues hard work. In fact, we saw more competition in this solicitation than in many during the recent past. This solicitation is a prime example of how much can be accomplished when PWD, CIP, and Procurement work collaboratively towards a common goal.” [The teams involved were from the Public Works and Procurement Departments and the Office of Capital Improvement Projects.]

“Great work by the whole team! I would say that approximately $9M in savings to the City is a huge win!” Carpenter responded.
Morales then forwarded the email to a list of City leaders. “More competition saved us $9 million and brought it within budget,” he wrote.
The original cost of the overall project was estimated to be $25.5 million, $20 million from FDOT and $7 million from Miami Beach. In November of last year, before bids for the road work were opened, the estimated cost had risen to $33 million, $26 million from FDOT and $7 million from the City. 
While Coley could not discuss current bids, the two bidders identified in the first solicitation were David Mancini and Sons who came in at $22 million and Ric-Man with a bid just shy of $24.5 million. The original budget for the road work portion only was $10.95 million.
The City will meet With FDOT on Monday, Coley said, to review the bids then a recommendation will be made to the City Manager.
“It’s nothing but wonderful news. It’s good stuff,” he said. “I believe the team effort is the real story. By getting all the departments together with the engineer of record we’re going to end up with a very positive outcome.”
“It’s been a tough project and there’s going to be a lot of tough days ahead but this is an example that we can get this job done and have some good pricing… this is going to prove it,” Coley said.
Separately, the seawall portion of the project has been stopped for a year and a half after it was discovered segments of it were noncompliant with environmental regulations and not properly permitted. The City is waiting for final sign-off from regulatory agencies on its proposal to remove and relocate three sections of the wall. The road work is not dependent on the seawall work and is expected to begin this fall. Completion is expected within two years.

Photo: DMSI

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