The Twisp Town Council has awarded a construction contract for water, sewer and street upgrades on West Twisp Avenue.
The lowest bid of three submitted was by Burley Products (doing business as JR Construction Inc.) of Post Falls, Idaho. The bid of $752,094 was substantially lower than the other two bids, which ranged up to $1.6 million, and less than the engineer’s estimate of $987,534.
The town’s engineering consultant, Varela Engineering & Management, said in a memo to the town that it had reviewed JR Construction’s performance history and found it satisfactory. The consultants also discussed with JR Construction the substantial difference between that firm’s bid and the others. Varela said the contactor “remained confident he could complete the project as bid.”
Public Works Director Andrew Denham told the council that he too is confident that the work can be performed as bid. Denham said that a small portion of the project, on Borchard Lane, was dropped because the street’s residents said they did not want any changes.
Denham noted that several other town projects are making progress. Those include demolition of the old Town Hall; initial construction work at the site of new athletic fields near the Twisp Municipal Airport; and construction of a new bus stop and other improvements at the intersection of Canyon Street and Highway 20 near Hank’s Harvest Foods.
Included in that project are more-visible crosswalks and “refuge islands” on Highway 20, providing protected spaces in the center of the street for pedestrians and cyclists.
In other business as last week’s council meeting:
• Council member Hannah Cordes reported that the Parks & Recreation Committee is close to finishing the draft of an updated comprehensive plan.
• Town Planner Kurt Danison said the town is receiving a “steady stream” of building permit applications, including one for what he described as a “major subdivision.”
• Council member Alan Caswell reported that Planning Commission will soon begin work on one of its 2021 priorities, updating of the town’s sign code. Caswell said the commission will review the sign codes of other towns in the region, and will take a walking tour of the town to assess current signage.
Merc’s restrooms open to public this week
Restrooms in The Merc Playhouse will be opened for public use this week, Twisp Public Works Director Andrew Denham said in an email.
“Tentatively, they will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week,” Denham said. “But that may change depending on staffing and public use.”
Although the restrooms are inside The Merc building and are used by theater patrons during events, they can also be accessed through a lockable public entrance on East Second Avenue. That access has been closed since November 2018 because of concerns about whether the facilities could be kept safe.
The Twisp Town Council recently decided to reopen the restroom in response to requests from visitors and downtown merchants.