Coal Grove boat ramp hits another roadblock

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

COAL GROVE - Almost exactly one year after it was originally scheduled to begin construction, the Ice Creek Boat Ramp project has stalled again after bids were more than double what was estimated.

Six companies picked up bid packages, but only one submitted an official bid because the contractors knew the bids could not be accepted if they were more than 10 percent higher than the estimated project cost of $266,000.

Mayor Tom McKnight said at Thursday's council meeting that he was left shocked by the bid.

Email newsletter signup

The Righter Construction Company, of Columbus, submitted their bid of $552,615, even though they knew it exceed project estimates.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Watercraft has awarded the village a $321,000 grant that required no matching funds. Approximately $284,000 is left from that grant after engineering fees, advertising and other preliminary costs, Village Clerk Juanita Markel said.

McKnight said the construction estimate of $266,000 was established by soliciting bids from two different engineering firms that came within $10,000 of each other.

Also, the ODNR approved the designs and construction estimates, and they know what they are doing when it comes to projects like this, the mayor said.

"This is completely outlandish," McKnight said. "This is ludicrous, it is downright comical."

McKnight said village leaders would have to talk with ODNR to see where to go now.

"Some people consider this a downer, but I just thank God that we are this far along," McKnight said. "We can go back to ODNR, sit down and figure out how to get construction started."

Doug Cade prepared the designs while working for C.T. Consultants. That firm has closed its Huntington, W.Va., office and terminated its agreement with the village.

Last month, E.L. Robinson, where Cade is now manager of the firm's Ironton office, was awarded the remainder of the project. Regardless, C.T. Consultants and Cade would be liable for any changes to the original design.

Cade was out of town Thursday and was unable to attend the meeting. When contacted by phone, he said that he has not yet had the chance to really study the bids.

"I will review the bids and make a recommendation to council to reject them or to modify the project so it will come in at a fundable level," he said. "It will take about a week to make that determination."

The boat ramp will be built near where Ice Creek connects with the Ohio River.

The village has been waiting to start construction since October 2002.