|BATA management opened construction bids yesterday from six local contractors.
Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) is kicking off plans to improve its infrastructure, services, and its brand. The effort will begin with improvements to its Cass Street facility in Traverse City. BATA management opened construction bids yesterday from six local contractors vying for the work. The apparent low bidder on the project – at $329,000 – is Traverse City-based Eckler Building Solutions. BATA is required by the Michigan Department of Transportation to award the project to the lowest bidder, as long as it meets all requirements of the contract. BATA’s independent cost estimate for the project was $300,000.
The facility first opened in 1989 and is long overdue for some maintenance – including a new roof, and energy-efficient windows and doors. But the most noticeable improvements to the community will be an addition to the entrance area, which faces South Airport Road, and some cosmetic work that will make it very similar in appearance to the Hall Street transfer station, built in 2006.
“We’re giving public transit a distinct brand in the community,” says Executive Director Tom Menzel. Local architect Ray Kendra of CWS Architects, designer of the Hall Street facility, also did the design for the Cass Street improvements.
Last November, voters in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties overwhelmingly approved BATA’s five-year millage renewal request, which provides $2.3 million in operational funds annually.
However, none of those funds will be used for this construction project. Instead, 80 percent will be paid for through a Federal Transportation Authority grant, and the remaining 20 percent is coming from the Michigan Department of Transportation, says Menzel.
The organization will award the contract next week. Construction is slated to begin in March and be complete by late spring, during which the facility will be fully operational.
The new entrance area will provide a 360-foot enclosed area for riders to wait for their bus and the design will allow for improved traffic flow. These improvements link to the new business model the organization presented to the community last year, Menzel adds.
One component of that model is expanding its fixed-route system, which will offer more predictable and efficient options for riders and make public transit a viable option for more people.
Currently several bus routes transfer at the Cass Street facility, which also operates as BATA’s administrative center and houses most of its 135 employees and its fleet of 70 buses, but BATA intends to double ridership through this facility with the fixed route system.