STONE MOUNTAIN - Three companies bid for the chance to change U.S. Highway 78's reversible lanes into a road with a median.
The apparent low offer was the $31.5 million bid by C.W. Matthews Contracting, Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Carrie Hamblin said.
Pittman Construction Co. bid $34.7 million and E.R. Snell Contractor Inc. bid $37.6 million, she said.
The figures are preliminary, and Hamblin said none of the companies will be awarded the project until June 1 so DOT can look deeper into the bids.
Then, she said, the department could choose to reward, reject or defer the project.
Brett Harrell, the executive director of the Evermore Community Improvement District, said he's excited that the project has gotten this far. He said acquiring the right of way has cost nearly $30 million, bringing the project's total to $60 million. The CID will contribute $4.8 million for landscaping and other improvements.
At a community meeting in the Park Place area Thursday night, Harrell said he received a number of questions from residents and business owners who wanted to know the median's status. On Friday, he said the bid opening should help answer some questions.
"The dirt turning will be the ultimate confirmation," he said. "This news will go a long way to convincing people it's actually happening."
The median project will begin at East Park Place and continue to Ga. Highway 124. It is due to be finished Oct. 31, 2009.
An intelligent transportation system project, which includes cameras used for the Georgia Navigator Web site, will be extended into the area and a raised median will eliminate the reversible lane.
The project bid has been delayed a number of times. It was last due to be bid in April, but changes that include drainage improvements and the use of a recycled material in the asphalt were added to the project.
It will be done in four phases, each of which is expected to take about six months. The first will go from the Gwinnett County line to East Park Place. The second phase will continue to Killian Hill Road, the third will go to Highpoint Road and the last one will end at Ga. Highway 124.
Jessica Daron Court will also be extended, providing a parallel road, and sidewalks will be added. Street signs will also be illuminated.