A grant-funded project to make repairs to the Prairie Avenue train station in downtown Brookfield and improvements to crosswalks on both sides of the grade crossing will be postponed until at least next spring.
Brookfield village trustees put the brakes on the project by voting on Oct. 9 to reject all three bids for the work after proposals came in above budget.
Hitchcock Design Group, the firm engaged by the village to design the improvements, had estimated that the project would cost about $395,800 to complete. However, bids opened in mid-September ranged from almost $420,900 to $444,500, between 6 and 12 percent over estimates.
Village Manager Keith Sbiral recommended that trustees reject the bids and seek new bids in early 2018 when officials hope contractors will be more competitive with regard to pricing.
“A lot of the contractors are relatively busy right now, and we don’t think the bids were quite in line with what we thought the engineers’ estimates were,” Sbiral said. “We think that we’ll get favorable bids first thing in the year.”
If it turns out that contractors come in with similar bids in early 2018, Sbiral said his staff would like more time to find out if the amount of grant funding for the project can be increased.
The majority of the work will be funded through a pair of grants totaling $230,000 awarded to Brookfield by the West Suburban Mass Transit District.
“We’ve gone back to WSMTD and are requesting a full … match of what the project actually costs, so we don’t have to scale back any of the alternatives and only do a portion of the project,” Sbiral said.
“We’re moving forward with the idea we may need additional funding.”
Earlier this year, Brookfield officials laid out the scope of the improvements for the area in and around the downtown train station. While the project includes routine station maintenance, including tuck pointing and pouring new concrete on the north side of the station to eliminate trip hazards, the improvements are also in line with the village’s “complete streets” policy, which addresses pedestrian and bike traffic.
Other improvements call for brick paver sidewalks on corners immediately adjacent to the train right-of-way, curb bump outs to reduce the length of crosswalks, the installation of high-visibility crosswalks, construction of a brick pedestrian refuge in the center of Brookfield Avenue east of Prairie Avenue, and ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps at corners.
The plan also calls for installation of bike racks, planters and trash/recycling receptacles.
If the village accepts a bid in early 2018, construction would start next spring, Sbiral said.