Montrose Street Lights Project Delayed

Nighttime visitors to Montrose Shopping Park will be walking in the dark along Honolulu Avenue a few months longer than planned, the Glendale City Council decided Tuesday.

The city had planned a major project this summer to replace sidewalk and street lighting in the shopping park, which is becoming more and more a night destination and eating spot for local residents.

However, the city received only one bid for the project, an eye-popping $1,061,606 from Excel Paving Company, $290,000 above what the city engineer had estimated for the job. Bill Hall, the city's electrical services administrator, said the high bid might be a result of the short timeline for the project, which the city wanted to finish before Oktoberfest, scheduled for Oct. 2.

Hall said almost half the bid was for sidewalk work, with Excel bidding nearly twice the price for pavement work than the city was paying for other projects.

The staff report recommended the work be postponed until January, which the council eventually approved with some reluctance. Councilman Gus Gomez, who was most insistent that a way be found to do the project on time, voted against the delay, which passed 4-1.

Hall said the project will also be split into two contracts, with the street work done separately.

The board of the Montrose Shopping Park Association, which pushed for the improvements, was aware of the pricey bid before Tuesday's meeting and agreed to the delay. "Bill Hall from Glendale Water and Power had spoken with me about three weeks ago and presented some options to us related to this one bid from Excel Paving," said John Drayman, an MSPA board member. "The MSPA board sat down and discussed it. The option we decided was most workable for us was to start construction in mid-January."

Delaying construction puts off a needed improvement, but eliminates the possibility that the project is not completed before Oktoberfest and Halloween. "We would rather delay it and let our shoppers and visitors participate in the many wonderful fall and winter activities here in the shopping park, including spending money," Drayman joked.

That still leaves portions of the increasingly popular shopping park, especially the 2400 block of Honolulu Avenue on the western end of the shopping area, very dark after sundown. The current situation, however, is better than the alternative, the MSPA board decided.

Council members asked if temporary lights could be put in, which the city will explore. City Manager James Starbird said the city will also look at trimming trees to let more sunlight onto the sidewalks.

"We thought it was a very bad idea to accept a bid that was much higher than the standard just because we're on a deadline," Drayman said. "We didn't want Montrose used as an example in the future of what happens when you rush a project."

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