High bid will delay Muller Lane Parkway work

Irrigation head gates removed last fall in preparation for the new Muller Parkway.

Irrigation head gates removed last fall in preparation for the new Muller Parkway.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

A $2.1 million price increase was sufficient for Regional Transportation Commissioners to reject the construction manager at risk’s bid to build Muller Parkway.

Ames Construction submitted the $16.8 million cost as part of the process that has worked for many Douglas County projects.

“Throughout the pre-construction phase, it became apparent that the CMAR delivery method for the Muller Parkway project was not cost effective or in the public interest,” according to Douglas County Transportation Manager Jon Erb. “Most notably, it was not until the final design stage that the contractor assessed and valued some risks involved in the project.”

Under the construction manager at risk, a contractor takes responsibility for ensuring that a project is completed within the bid amount.

Under a 2019 development agreement with Park Ranch Holdings, the county is required to construct 2.4 miles of two-lane Muller Parkway by 2025. The county would also have to build .4 miles of one lane of Muller Parkway across Ashland Park just north of Toler Lane.

Erb said that transportation commissioners rejected the construction contract and moved forward with a traditional competitive bid solicitation.

Ames completed the design for the parkway, which was estimated to cost $14.7 million.

Erb said Ames will be allowed to submit a bid along with other contractors when it goes back out in a few months. That could delay work on the county’s section of the parkway until around the start of summer.

However, another segment of the parkway may see work start sooner.

The developers of Virginia Ranch are responsible for building the segment between Grant Avenue and Toler Lane. That project is seeking some modifications to its development agreement, including elimination of a 10.5-acre school site and some basically cosmetic changes. With a declining enrollment, the school district isn’t interested in establishing another school only a mile from Gardnerville Elementary School. The district would still have to purchase the site and pay to build a school there. As of Tuesday, the district’s enrollment was 5,325 students. In 2005, the year after the original approval of the Virginia Ranch project, there were 7,040 students in the district.

A second reading of the ordinance goes before Douglas County commissioners where there will be further testimony. Even if the county doesn’t approve the ordinance, Virginia Ranch can still build 1,020 homes on the land just north of the Gardnerville Walmart.

At least one project still owes the county 4,300 feet of the parkway north of Monterra.

The county issued a notice of breach to property owner Mike Pegram just before Thanksgiving last year. Pegram’s attorney Sev Carlson said his client doesn’t want to spend to build four lanes of the parkway when the county is only going to build two.

Douglas County has been looking to build an alternative route to Highway 395 along the northern edge of Minden and Gardnerville for nearly 40 years, though the extension of Muller Lane has been the plan since around 1992.

Because the county has determined that the parkway won’t take truck traffic, it will mostly serve commuters.

As part of the development agreement between Park Ranch Holdings and the county, the county agreed to reimburse Park for relocating irrigation infrastructure on land deeded as part of the Muller Lane Parkway right of way. Park is seeking $729,260 for the work.

These are irrigation head gates that were removed last fall in preparation for the new Muller Parkway.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment