Freeway work to start in April

A roadblock to the start date of the Carson City freeway was bypassed Friday as the Nevada Department of Transportation awarded the bid for Phase 1A to Frehner Construction Co. of Las Vegas.

Frehner was the Phase 1A low bidder with a bid just over $14 million. Their total was about $74,000 less than a bid from Q&D Construction, who contested Frehner's bid.

Q&D contended that some of the prices listed in Frehner's bid were inaccurate and that the bid of $14,007,777 was unrealistic.

NDOT Director Tom Stevens decided to award the bid to Frehner despite the protest. His other option would have been to rebid the project, which would have added a least another month delay to the long-awaited freeway.

"We felt the protest didn't merit us throwing out the bid and rebidding," NDOT Spokesman Scott Magruder said. "We felt the low bid was fine."

Frehner has 30 days to start work, which includes the construction of bridges over College Parkway, Emerson Drive, Northgate Lane and Arrowhead Drive.

Mike Pack, president of Frehner Construction, said his crews would probably be working on the bridges by late March.

Pack said Q&D's bid contest was unfounded.

"If our bid was unrealistic, so was their's," Pack said. "We didn't bid that much less. We feel we're a prudent contractor doing a good job before the bid. We did our research and it paid off."

Q&D Communications Director Sheila Muhtadi said the company's attorneys were reviewing the decision. She was uncertain whether Q&D plans to take further legal action.

Frehner Construction employs about 900 people and did about $160 million worth of work last year, Pack said. The company has about 20 projects going in Nevada right now and is also the apparent low bidder for a $17 million state project on a leg of the Las Vegas beltway.

"We're obviously ecstatic," Pack said. "We're 100 percent ready to do the job."

A ground breaking for the freeway is planned for sometime in April, Magruder said.

"I guarantee the freeway's starting," Pack said. "Pretty soon people will be sick of us, so just have them smile as they go by."

Bids for the $90 million Phase 1B of the freeway's northern leg should be posted in February 2001. Construction is slated on the northern leg, which extends from Lakeview Hill to Highway 50, from 2000 to 2003. The second freeway leg from Highway 50 east to the Spooner Summit Junction has a $160 million price tag, and as of yet, no funding. Construction is expected to begin on the southern leg in 2004 and to finish in 2007.


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