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CRA seeking more oversight for area’s power lines project; Looks to MWH for help

By Staff | Oct 15, 2008

Lee County Electric Cooperative officials are poised to submit a request for proposals from contractors to install 1,750 feet of underground transmission lines, but Cape Coral Community Redevelopment board members are looking for greater oversight on the project.

LCEC will start to solicit bids Thursday for the project that would run the underground lines along Coronado Parkway from Del Prado Boulevard to a substation just north of the Coronado-Cape Coral Parkway intersection.

The CRA is partnering with LCEC to bring in the underground lines, and moved Tuesday toward bringing in a firm with experience undergrounding lines to help oversee the project.

CRA board members voted unanimously to allow CRA Executive Director John Jacobsen to enter into negotiations later this week with Jeremy Osborne, project manager with MWH.

The move comes as CRA board members expressed uneasiness with LCEC’s method of soliciting bids. Some want greater specifications in order to ensure the quality of the project.

“You really have to get the technical design right or else it’s not going to work,” said CRA Boardmember Lou Simmons.

“It was just too loose,” he said of LCEC’s request for proposals.

Rick Fuson, director of electrical operations for LCEC, said more specific details would boost the price.

“The tighter we make it, the more it’s going to cost,” Fuson said.

Fuson has stated an initial figure of $1.9 million for the project is “very rough” and bids would have to be received before a more specific estimate could be given.

According to a memo from Jacobsen to CRA board members, bids are expected to be received by Dec. 11. LCEC and CRA will evaluate the bids and make a decision to move forward with the project by Feb. 9, according to Jacobsen’s proposal.

The underground lines are part of a larger project that includes overhead lines along Southeast 46th Street and Del Prado. LCEC officials have stated the extra lines are needed to increase the capacity and reliability of the system.

Jacobsen has said overhead lines are a “blight” on the area and discourage vertical development in the CRA.

Under the collaboration between LCEC and the CRA, the CRA would pay the difference between the cost to install the overhead lines and the cost of the underground lines.