Youngstown officials hope third time is the charm for V&M expansion project



When it comes to a major improvement project needed for V&M Star’s expansion, city officials expect to get it right the third time around.

Charles Shasho, the city’s deputy director of public works, said he and Mayor Jay Williams recently met with officials from the Ohio Rail Development Commission to discuss the project.

The city project consists of building and relocating railroad lines and installing storm-sewer lines with $14.4 million from the federal stimulus package.

The city will advertise for proposals in late March, open the proposals a month later and it is hoped award a contract to a firm by mid-May, Shasho said.

The work is scheduled to begin at the end of May, he said.

The project was supposed to take up to 300 days to complete, but “it’s likely the time-frame will be reduced,” said Shasho, who added he’ll know the new timetable for the project at the end of February.

This is the third time the city is seeking proposals for this project.

The city rejected four proposals for this project in June 2010. The project’s original estimate was $13.56 million, but the proposals ranged from $18.18 million to $20.21 million.

After nearly four months of discussions with V&M, the state rail commission, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, the city reduced the project’s scope and opened proposals for the work Oct. 19.

The city lowered the base proposal to $11.35 million and included eight add-ons for the project.

The city was able to include five of the add-ons to install about 25,000 feet of railroad tracks. The base work installs 28,000 feet of tracks.

Four of the six proposals for the revised project were lower than the $14.4 million amount, even with five add-ons included.

But on Nov. 10, the city rejected all six proposals based on the legal advice of the city law director, ODOT, the rail commission and state attorney general.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on

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