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DOT defers awarding bid for Ga. 316 work for closer look

LAWRENCEVILLE — With the fate of hundreds of thousands of drivers and thousands of college students in mind, transportation officials will take extra time to consider construction bids for the transformation of Ga. Highway 316.

The work, which will create interchanges at the highway’s traffic lights at Ga. Highway 20 and Collins Hill Road, is complex, said Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Teri Pope. So officials decided to defer the bid award Monday.

“Usually with big projects like this, they go through it with a fine-tooth comb,” Pope said of bids. “This is a very distinct project with its proximity to Georgia Gwinnett College. ... It’s an extremely complicated job, and we need to make sure the best contractor for the job gets the contract.”

Last month, the DOT opened five bids on the project, ranging from $37,395,727.95 to $42,315,537.74.

Pope said all of the bids — not just the apparent low bid from GPS Enterprises Inc. — will be subjected to review to make sure details such as quantities and plans are correct.

A deferral is common, she said, noting that the Ga. 316 interchange at Interstate 85 was deferred before it was awarded in late 2005. Although officials have no specified time frame, Pope said deferrals typically last about a month, which may allow time for construction to begin before the winter.

“There is no timeline for a decision,” she said. “As long as it takes to ensure we get the best contractor for the best price to build the best project for Georgia.”