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Deadline to bid on Salem Wharf project extended by two weeks

Posted by Justin Rice  February 2, 2012 10:13 AM

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City officials have delayed the deadline for contractors to bids on the $3.1 million Salem Wharf project by two weeks.

The deadline was originally set for yesterday but was extended until Feb. 15, according to Kathy Winn, Salem’s deputy director of planning and community development.

“There’s pre-qualification process the state requires; [contractors] have to be pre-qualified as marine contractors,” she said during a telephone interview this morning. “A couple of contractors interested asked for more time to get through the process.

“It’s done as an effort to allow more qualified contractors to bid. The more contractors we get hopefully the better price we will get. We thought it was worth the two weeks.”

In December the federal and state government gave Salem the green light to begin construction on Salem Wharf — a long sought after economic boon that could expand cruise ship traffic as well as draw whale watching and fishing boats to the pier.  The improvements have been sought for 20 years, and Mayor Kim Driscoll has tried to secure funding for the project since she took office in 2006.  In October 2010 Salem received $1.3 million from the Seaport Advisory Council to make improvements to Salem’s waterfront.

Winn said the two week delay will not push back the construction timeline. Construction could begin as early as this winter and be completed by the spring of 2013.  Overall, the three-phase project is expected to cost $20 million and will include a 390-foot pier with a 180-foot T-shaped portion. The second two phases have not been funded yet.

Winn said it was unclear how many bids they will get.

“There have been a number of people that have registered with the Purchasing Department, but that doesn’t mean they are qualified to bid or they are going to bid,” she said.  “I can say there has been a lot of interest.”

Justin A. Rice can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com.

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