Langley accepts low bid on CMA Church park-and-ride project

The city of Langley has accepted a $472,706 bid from Krieg Construction of Oak Harbor to build the city’s new park-and-ride project at the CMA Church parking lot.

The city council voted unanimously to accept the bid at its meeting on Monday.

Council members also approved another agreement with Cane Engineering that would increase the consultant’s contract from roughly $72,000 to more than $108,000. City officials said the Oak Harbor-based company will manage the construction and handle the grant paperwork for the project.

The park-and-ride project — which would turn the private parking lot at the Langley Christian & Missionary Alliance Church at Sixth and Cascade streets into a part-time public parking lot — drew criticism as it started to move off the drawing board. Nearby residents complained about noise and headlight glare, while environmentalists bemoaned the loss of blackberry bushes that would occur as new landscaping is installed and improvements are made to the creekside property.

Some residents in the Village by the Sea have also raised alarm about the cost of the project, and those concerns continued this week.

The winning bid was nearly $100,000 more than the engineer’s estimate — $381,618 —for the project.

Krieg Construction was the low bidder, and two other companies also submitted bids. C. Johnson Construction offered to build the park-and-ride for $571,193, and Trimaxx Construction estimated the cost at $612,193.

Robin Adams, a candidate for the city council who has made the escalating costs for the project a campaign issue, again said the project was overpriced.

“I really wonder whether we should be spending this kind of money on this kind of project,” he said, adding that the project’s consultants were being overpaid.

“I seriously question whether you should sit still for that kind of an increase,” Adams said.

Despite their earlier misgivings, some on the council said it was time to move forward.

“I do see a need for this,” said Councilwoman Rene Neff.

Neff recalled the earlier complaint by some that the city’s two existing park-and-ride lots were underused. That was no longer the case.

“There’s cars in them; lots of cars in both of them,” she said.

More public parking was needed in town to accommodate those who use the Langley Marina, officials noted, and the lot will also help those going to the city’s new open-air market on Second Street. The parking lot makeover will add 50 spaces and includes a stormwater system upgrade at the location.

The council should stop dragging its feet on the project, Neff added.

“We’ve been, I hate to say, dithering,” she said.

Councilman Hal Seligson agreed, with a disclaimer.

“I was not a part of the alleged dithering,” he said, drawing chuckles from the small audience at the meeting, and he recalled just joining the council last December.

Even so, he said the council should approve the bid, in part, to counter the notion “that Langley is not capable of doing something.”

“I would vote to bite the bullet and move ahead,” Seligson said.

Public Works Director Challis Stringer also noted the city would have to pay back part of the grant funds it had already received if the council didn’t approve the project.

Mayor Paul Samuelson also added that while some have complained about the project, their numbers are small.

“There aren’t a lot of people who have a problem with us,” Samuelson said.

The council voted 4-0 to accept the bid, and also approved the new agreement with Cane Engineering on an identical vote. Councilman Doug Allderdice was absent.

“It makes no sense to stop it at this point,” said Councilwoman Fran Abel.

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