County could sidestep RFP for Zoo Interchange utility move
Milwaukee County might circumvent its rules for requests for proposals by awarding to Graef-USA Inc. a contract to plan the move of county-owned utilities to prepare for the Zoo Interchange reconstruction.
The county expects to spend between $200,000 and $250,000 on the contract and would normally request proposals for the work.
But construction to move the utilities must begin in July to stay on the state’s timeline for construction on Watertown Plank Road in Wauwatosa, according to a memo sent to Milwaukee County supervisors, so there is not enough time to issue an RFP. The county’s utilities include sanitary sewer, water, electrical and communications lines, according to the memo.
Claudia Peterson, technical services chief for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s southeast region, said the county needs to move the utilities by Dec. 1. If Milwaukee County misses that deadline, she said, whomever WisDOT hires as contractor to widen Watertown Plank Road could seek damages against the county. She said WisDOT told the county in August which utilities need to be moved.
Greg High, director of the architectural, engineering and environmental services division of the county’s Department of Administrative Services, said Graef is already familiar with the county’s utilities under Watertown Plank because the company has done a number of small-scale projects there for the county.
The board’s Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee voted 7-0 to streamline the process. The full board will vote March 21.
– Beth Kevit