The Herald News, Monday, March 13, 2017 – Page A1

By Michael Holtzman
Email: mholtzman@heraldnews.com

The project:
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has followed three years of state and city officials’ studies and state project funding last year to begin the next corridor phase of the Davol Street and Route 79 improvements.

When completed the project would transform the elevated Route 79 to a four-lane urban boulevard at grade level recommended by the Federal Highway Administration — the principle funding source — and

create 10 acres for mixed development accessing the eastern bank of the Taunton River. The project scope is approximately one mile from the Cove Restaurant to the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

What’s new?
MassDOT issued requests for proposals in January and received and opened seven bids on Feb. 24 for 25 percent design, preliminary development and environmental permitting of an envisioned design-build project.

The seven bidders, which MassDOT released Thursday after a public records request, are: AECOM of California; CDR Maguire, local offices in Milton and Providence; Jacobs, Pasadena, California; McMahon Associates, Boston; TranSystems Corp., Boston, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., Watertown, and Weston & Sampson, Peabody.

“There are no bid amounts. It is a qualification- based selection process,” Deputy General Counsel Maryellen Lyons wrote by email.

Initial evaluation scoring based on design team members, subcontractors, etc.; scope of services understanding; consultant staffing, and several pass-fail criteria. Up to three bidders would be invited to issue technical proposals and make oral presentations, the RFP says.

The evaluation committee:

Seven members headed by Ammie Rogers, MassDOT project manager. Others include Fall River Planning Director William Kenney, Fall River Office of Economic

Development Executive Vice President Kenneth Fiola Jr., SRPEDD Director of Highway Planning Lisa Estrela-Pedro, and other MassDOT officials.

The history:

This next phase follows the substantial completion in the fall of 2016 of the $228 million Route 79/Braga Bridge Improvements Project of major structural bridge repairs and replacement of deficient highway “spaghetti ramp” viaducts and bridges between Routes 79/138 and I-195. Project included vastly improved motorist, bicyclist and pedestrian waterfront access. It took three years and was completed about six months early.

What state officials are saying:

Gov. Charlie Baker: “We think (it) is absolutely the next right move … the project is absolutely a complement to that (larger) project and an important one for the city.”

State Rep. Carole Fiola. “I’m thrilled seven companies applied … we’re going to keep moving it.”

Additional information sought:

MassDOT’s response on releasing names of bidders: “If the news company wants to file a written request for this information they are welcome to do so through the MassDOT website https://www.massdot. state.ma.us/ContactUs/ PublicRecordsRequests.aspx.

The Herald News filed a public records request on March 7 for project bidding and related details that was essential for information in this story.