Downtown Issaquah trolley faces another delay

November 23, 2010

By Staff

The downtown Issaquah trolley has to make another stop before the cars return to the rails.

The long-planned tourism attraction needs contractors to refurbish historic trolley cars and a stretch of track in downtown Issaquah, but a tight budget could push the project off track.

The state Department of Transportation estimated the track refurbishment could cost about $185,000 and the car rehabilitation could total about $235,000. The city administers about $500,000 in federal grant dollars awarded to the Issaquah Valley Trolley Project, the group behind the effort.

However, the low bid for the track project alone amounted to about $200,000. Because the bids turned out to be more expensive than the $185,000 state Department of Transportation estimate used to budget the project, city engineers raised concerns about running out of funds before the trolley car could be rehabilitated.

The additional cost imperiled the car upgrades, so city engineers and trolley backers decided to re-advertise the projects for separate bids at the same time.

The adjustment should allow planners to evaluate costs and available dollars — and reduce the risk of awarding a contract before the other contract and jeopardizing dollars needed to complete the project.

Under the recommendation of city engineers, the City Council rejected the low bid for the track project in September.

City Senior Engineer Rory Cameron said, after the re-advertisement of the bids, the council could make a decision by early next year.

Organizers hope to run historic trolleys through downtown Issaquah by next summer.

The trolley group leased a trolley from the Yakima organization several years ago, and ferried more than 5,000 passengers through downtown Issaquah in 2001 and 2002.

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