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Costs rising for return of traffic to Main Street; Grant deadline leads to consultants' hike

Engineering costs are rising on the project to bring vehicular traffic back to sections of Main Street.

City lawmakers today will consider a proposal to add $263,000 to a consulting contract with DiDonato Associates of Buffalo.

The additional costs are necessary so work can be completed in time to meet deadlines under a $15 million federal grant the city received in December for work on the 500 block of Main, according to a Feb. 14 memo to the Common Council from City Engineer Peter J. Merlo.

DiDonato Associates was previously awarded a $1.47 million contract for work associated with the 600 block of Main Street, and the total value of the new contract would rise to about $1.74 million, according to Merlo's memo.

The increase in the contract is necessary to complete documents for the phase of the project in the 600 block of Main, as well as preliminary design work for the 500 block, which runs between Chippewa and Mohawk streets, Merlo wrote.

The city's share of the project costs is 5 percent, so it would pay roughly $13,000 for the change order. Eighty percent of the costs for the project will be covered by federal funding, with 15 percent covered by the state.

The proposal is among several public works contracts that the Council will consider when it meets at 2 p.m. today. The others include:

*A proposal for engineering services to stabilize part of the exterior at Kleinhans Music Hall. Daniel Hart, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra executive director, said that some loose bricks found near the back of a beam that runs over the stage is not believed to be a new problem, but rather "a maintenance issue that needs to be addressed."

*A proposal to increase the construction contract by $14,369 for work on a new basement booking area and lockup in the City Court building on Delaware Avenue. The proposed increase -- which adds about $12,000 for paint, along with some wall construction -- brings the total contract with Wilsandra Construction to almost $1.4 million. This is the second change order involving this contract; a $20,641 increase was previously approved.

The city is taking back responsibility for handling male prisoners waiting to see a judge after an agreement was not renewed that saw arrestees taken to the Erie County Holding Center.

The project, which carries a total cost of about $3 million, was initially scheduled to be completed last Oct. 1, but at that time, county officials said the transfer was expected to take place March 1.

*A proposed contract with New York State Industries for the Disabled for cleaning and janitorial services at City Court. The one-year deal, with options for three one-year extensions, would cost $344,847.

*A proposal to hire an engineering consultant to assist the Department of Public Works on a variety of traffic-related issues, including design services, as well as construction management and inspection services.

*A proposal to award a contract for tree pruning citywide for this year. The low bidder was Scott Lawn Yard of Sanborn, which submitted a $337,750 bid. The only other bid received was from Tree Services of Western New York, located in the City of Tonawanda, which was for $654,250, according to documents submitted by the department to the Council.

*A proposal to award contracts for maintenance of parkways, medians and traffic circles. The qualified low bidder for work around the outer harbor was Gardenville Landscape & Nursery of West Seneca, which submitted a $171,170 bid. The low bidder for work on other areas, unspecified in a departmental memo, was Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps, which submitted a $74,000 bid.

*A proposal to award a contract for repairs to the Hopkins Street bridge, near South Park, to Paul J. Gallo Contractors of Amherst, which submitted a total bid of $503,089. It was the lowest of six bids, according to documents.