The Galt City Council is expected to vote Tuesday to spend more than $1 million for the much-anticipated Twin Cities Road roundabouts project — but that's before any ground has actually been broken.
The entire project is estimated at $8.2 million, of which about $4.6 million is for actual construction — although the actual price won't be realized until the project is bid on this spring.
"It seems like a lot because we are including (these services) all on the same staff report, but the actual work is very distinct and right in line with what you would expect from this type of project," City Manager Jason Behrmann said.
The roundabouts are expected to increase roadway safety, add landscaping and artwork, and make pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
While the costs for multiple firms are significant, they must be viewed in context with the size and complexity of the project, Public Works Director Steven Winkler said.
"It should also be noted that the stated amounts are 'not-to-exceed' totals," he added. "Actual costs are paid on a time and material basis, and are likely to be less if the project flows smoothly."
The contracts on next week's agenda include $134,182 for construction support services and $785,103 for construction management services, including construction staking and material testing. There is also an additional fee for procurement costs for each contract.
These services are normally included within the construction contract costs, but have been intentionally moved to a construction management contract to allow early problem identification and independent quality assurance, Winkler said.
This type of project requires significant extra coordination and record keeping, he added.
It is impractical for a city the size of Galt to maintain the staffing levels needed to manage like projects like these — namely, the complex staging and layout needed to accommodate existing traffic on Highways 99 and 104 during construction, Winkler said.
This project will require bringing on several different inspectors who specialize in various areas, Behrmann said, adding that the full-time staff will have to devote 100 percent of their time to the project throughout construction.
"Typically, cities only have enough staff to take care of the day-to-day projects and match the workload that can be sustained on an annual basis," Behrmann said. "Cities typically hire outside help for specialized work and large projects."
"Coordination with (the California Department of Transportation) and multiple utility relocations requires staffing beyond the city's current resources," he said. "It is problematic to hire experienced staff for an 18-month project, knowing that they will likely face layoffs at the conclusion of the project."
The city council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the city council chambers at City Hall, 380 Civic Drive, Galt.