Las Vegas Review-Journal

■ The selection of a contractor for a Las Vegasarea interchang­e project proved controvers­ial.

Kiewit outscores Ames despite higher bid to build interchang­e

- MICK AKERS ROAD WARRIOR

THE contractor that could carry out the Tropicana Avenue/interstate 15 interchang­e project was selected last week, but not without some controvers­y.

At the state Board of Transporta­tion meeting, Kiewit Infrastruc­ture West was chosen as the apparent best value for the project, beating out Ames Constructi­on. That was despite Kiewit’s proposal carrying a $305 million price tag — $41 million more than Ames’ $264 million bid.

Earlier this year, the Nevada Department of Transporta­tion estimated the project would cost around $270 million, up from initial cost estimates of $230 million. The increase was largely due to adding repaving work on I-15 between Warm Springs Road and Hacienda Avenue and rising constructi­on costs, according to Lynnette Russell, NDOT assistant project manager.

NDOT and Kiewit next

will meet and confirm the contract ahead of its final approval at next month’s Board of Transporta­tion meeting.

Project details

The project’s scope includes I-15 between Russell and Flamingo roads and Tropicana between Las

Vegas Boulevard and Valley View Boulevard.

Tropicana over I-15 is deteriorat­ing due to unanticipa­ted traffic volume, so the capacity needs to be increased on the freeway ramps and the bridge over the interstate, Russell said.

Plans call for reconstruc­ting the interchang­e, creating a diamond on-ramp and off-ramp configurat­ion and a flyover at Tropicana.

Dean Martin Drive will be reconfigur­ed to go underneath the Tropicana freeway ramps, removing a traffic signal at the intersecti­on near the In-n-out restaurant. Circular roads will be added to maintain access to the northwest and southwest quadrants.

Sidewalks on Tropicana over I-15 will be expanded from 5 feet to 10 feet, and a new pedestrian walkway will be constructe­d from the north side of Tropicana down to Frank Sinatra Drive, adding access to T-mobile Arena.

High occupancy drop lanes are also planned to be added to and from Harmon

Avenue, which would be located on the south side of the bridge.

With I-15 and Tropicana leading to the south end of the Strip, T-mobile Arena and Allegiant Stadium, mitigation measures are in place to ensure traffic will be able to travel in and out of the area during constructi­on.

The scoring process

Each company that bid on the project was graded on two areas: price, which accounted for 60 out of the 100 available points; and technical proposal evaluation, or how the company would carry out the project, which

was worth 40 points.

Ames received a 24.4 out of 40 on the technical proposal evaluation while Kiewet got a 38.28.

On price, Ames’ cheaper cost scored a perfect 60, while Kiewet’s rated a 51.9. As a result, Kiewet netted a 90.18 overall score, besting Ames’ 84.4.

Outgoing Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall questioned how Ames, a company used by NDOT in the past, could score so low on the technical side, noting the stark cost difference­s in the two proposals.

“We’re talking serious money here and I was state treasurer, so even I think

that’s serious money,” Marshall said during the meeting. “It seems to me that in order to get Kiewet to be the first bidder you had to technicall­y weigh Ames’ proposal very, very, very low and it surprises me. It surprises me because Ames is a reputable entity here in Nevada that has done design-build projects before.”

Nick Johnson, NDOT project manager, noted that Ames has done a lot of work with the department and has done a good job in those instances. But this proposal wasn’t as strong as Kiewit’s, he said.

“The details, I can’t go into because they’re confidenti­al at the moment but regardless we worked with our team to go through that (selection process),” Johnson said during the meeting. “It’s their proposal that they submitted and those are the scores that came up. But I think in the case of Kiewit, another great company, too, and the team scored them high.”

Las Vegas Paving was disqualifi­ed as a contender for the contract before the final stages of the review process.

“During this process … it was determined that LVP’S proposal was not compliant with the requiremen­ts of the RFP (request for proposal) and the technical provisions and that they failed at least one of the pass/fail criteria,” Russell said in an email. “As a result, they were notified that they had been disqualifi­ed from further considerat­ion and were not eligible for award of the contract.”

Bill Wellman, division manager for Las Vegas

Paving, spoke during public comment and questioned the price associated with Kiewet’s bid, noting their proposal was listed at $228 million.

“This is not about our disqualifi­cation,” Wellman said during the meeting. “This is about spending an additional $80 million of taxpayers’ money.”

 ?? Michael Quine Las Vegas Review-journal @Vegas88s ?? An aerial view shows the interchang­e at Tropicana Avenue and Interstate 15, which will be restructur­ed to increase capacity.
Michael Quine Las Vegas Review-journal @Vegas88s An aerial view shows the interchang­e at Tropicana Avenue and Interstate 15, which will be restructur­ed to increase capacity.
 ?? Michael Quine Las Vegas Review-journal @Vegas88s ?? The Tropicana Avenue ramp over Interstate 15 is deteriorat­ing due to increased traffic volume. Restructur­ing plans call for creating a diamond on-ramp and off-ramp configurat­ion.
Michael Quine Las Vegas Review-journal @Vegas88s The Tropicana Avenue ramp over Interstate 15 is deteriorat­ing due to increased traffic volume. Restructur­ing plans call for creating a diamond on-ramp and off-ramp configurat­ion.

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