Now that the City Council has approved Cardi Construction Company’s $1,246,811 contract to build a new Mill Creek Bridge on Tidewater Drive, Department of Public Works acting director David Picozzi is ready to get going.
Picozzi said yesterday he wants to get going as soon as the mayor signs the bid.
“We’ve got to start this season or the money goes away,” Picozzi said of the low cost loan the Rhode Island Clean Water Finance Agency approved for the project. He said the city was fortunate to have the bridge design “ready to go” when the funding became available.
But the council’s action didn’t come without controversy.
During the council finance committee hearing, and again during the council meeting, Peter Donatelli of New England Building and Bridge Co. (NEBB) of Greenville said they should get the award as the qualified lowest bidder.
The NEBB bid was $27,690.25 lower than Cardi’s, at $1,219,120.75. However, according to the rating system applied in the bid review, which not only considers price but years of experience as well as the capability of the company and other factors, NEBB placed third on the list. Cardi was first.
“We’re the low bidder and, for some reason, the DPW director has chosen to work with someone else,” Donatelli said during the public comment portion of the council meeting. He suggested that council members “dig in” and determine who is the responsible bidder.
Picozzi said he has no reservations after visiting NEBB construction sites and viewing their work.
“This company’s been in business for two years,” said Picozzi.
In contrast, he said, “You can’t go anywhere in the state without going over a Cardi bridge.”
Picozzi also got a thumbs-up from Ed Ladouceur (D-Ward 5), one of his most inquisitive council critics.
“Dave Picozzi did his due diligence. It would not be a sound decision to go with someone with less than two years experience. The man [Picozzi] knows how to build bridges and he has more experience than a company building for two years,” he said.