City preparing bid documents to remove rails, railroad ties for recreational trail

By Ben Holbrook | Apr 09, 2014

Belfast — Councilors authorized the city manager to enter into an agreement with VHB consulting engineers to prepare bid documents and specifications for the removal of the rail and railroad ties for the Belfast Rail Trail.

The city is still waiting for word from federal authorities to rail bank a portion of the corridor it purchased in 2010 that extends from the edge of Penobscot McCrum's property to the Waldo town line in order to construct a recreational trail.

City Manager Joseph Slocum told councilors Tuesday, April 1, he expects to hear from federal officials this month about the status of the city's rail banking application. In the meantime, he said he wants to amend an existing agreement with VHB to help the city prepare the necessary bid documents for removing the rails and railroad ties.

The city hopes the salvage value of the steel rail will cover the cost of having it removed. According to the scope of work plans from VHB, the firm will prepare a “best value” contract, meaning the bid will be awarded to the contractor that proposes the best dollar value for completing the specified work.

Because the salvage value of the steel rail is unknown, the best value proposal from a contractor could be defined as either the lowest cost to the city or the highest net proceeds to Belfast, depending on the salvage value of the rail versus the construction cost.

The cost to have VHB prepare the bid documents is estimated to be $4,700. The money will be paid out of the Rail Trail Trust account.

Councilor Mike Hurley raised a concern about the condition of a trestle bridge along the course of the Rail Trail. He questioned whether there was a need for temporary construction on the bridge to make the crossing safer.

However, Councilor Roger Lee said a temporary fix would not be appropriate and if the city was concerned about people crossing the trestle bridge getting injured, it would probably be wiser to put up barricades to keep people off of the structure.

Councilors unanimously authorized Slocum to have VHB prepare the bid documents to remove the rail and ties.

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Ben Holbrook
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Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.

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