Bids to build new Augusta bus facility cited as too high

An artists’s rendering from Cranston Engineering and Wendel shows the design for the new Augusta Public Transit administration and maintenance facility planned at the site of the old Regency Theater.

An Augusta Public Transit maintenance and administration building planned for a Regency Mall out-parcel is on hold after construction bids came in too high, city officials said.


Transit Director Patrick Stephens said the two firms that submitted bids for the project came in “a few million” over the project’s budget.

“The bids were substantially over the budget the architect and project managers sent,” Stephens said. “We had to reject those bids and we have to evaluate why those bids came in too high.”

News of the cancellation reached Commissioner Grady Smith from a contractor friend upset after spending “time and money” to submit a bid package on the project, Smith said.

“You spend that kind of time going to meetings and putting together a bid and sub(contractor)s,” Smith said. “Then they say it’s over budget when they don’t go public with the budget.”

The city doesn’t publicize the project budget to prevent bidders from targeting that amount, and doesn’t publish bids until the job is awarded, said Stephens, who referred further questions about the process to the procurement department.

The city’s bid solicitation for the project began April 20. The city amended the project specs and other details numerous times in three addenda filed last month then canceled the bid award last week due to submittals exceeding the budget and “specification and scope changes,” according to the cancellation notice.

Only two general contractors – Allen + Batchelor Construction and McKnight Construction – submitted bids for the project, despite interest shown by 12 contractors who attended a May 12 pre-bid conference. The other general contractors that attended were the Astra Group, R.W. Allen, Dabbs-Williams, S.D. Clifton Construction, ACC Construction, Paul S. Akins Company, Principle/Williams Construction, Spratlin and Son and Attaway Construction.

Stephens said Augusta’s budget for the project resembles those of similar scopes in other southeastern cities. The project has already been value-engineered and with more cuts “we will lose functionality,” he said.

Augusta previously spent more than $3 million on site work, engineers and other expenses to build a bus shop on land off Mike Padgett Highway, then announced a year ago a land swap for several outparcels including the former Regency Theater by Regency Mall as the new site for the bus shop. The current project will benefit from about $8 million in Federal Transit Administration grants, officials have said.

The city has promised its existing bus shop property on Fenwick Street to the Medical College of Georgia Foundation, which owns the adjacent 15th Kroger shopping center. Foundation officials have said their plans await acquisition of the bus shop property.

Reach Susan McCord at (706) 823-3215 or

Johnny Rio 4 days ago
Grady's questions are misdirected. Stephens is right. You can't publicized the bids, etc. if you want to do the bidding process again. Try again and see what happens.
Jerry Whitcomb 4 days ago
"Only two general contractors ........... submitted bids for the project, despite interest shown by 12 contractors who attended a May 12 pre-bid conference."

I imagine the other 10 smelled the champagne appetite and beer barrel budget. 

Either that or the word is getting around to avoid doing business with Augusta because everything they build ends up costing between DOUBLE to QUADRUPLE the original projections due to change orders resulting from poor planning and incompetent procurement practices and specifications. 
John Booth 4 days ago
Why do bus shops and admin need to look like Trump Towers?  All that's going to happen there is buses will be fixed and the boss and a couple of secretaries have a desk.  Looks too glitzy for a bus shop to me.  Tone it down and rebid.
Roland SASSER 3 days ago
Do you really think we need a damn bus depot that looks like JFK? You have a bunch of morons running Augusta, God I'm glad I moved to CC!


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