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LOCKPORT – High costs and poor timing may prevent the Town of Lockport from building new sidewalks this year on streets near pubic schools, Town Engineer Robert D. Klavoon says.

Klavoon told the Town Board at a work session this week that the rejection of bids for the “Safe Routes to School” work, which came in $80,000 above the amount of state grant money allocated for the project, might trigger a series of circumstances that might push the work into 2015.

The town received a $570,000 grant, but only $344,000 of that was earmarked for actual construction of sidewalks on Locust Street Extension and East High Street in the town and on Hi-Point Drive and Corinthia Street in the City of Lockport.

The lowest of three bids received topped the construction grant by $80,000.

Rebidding the job isn’t as simple as it sounds. “All the sidewalk contractors are extremely busy,” Klavoon said. He said if there is a rebid now, it’s possible no company will be able to attack the job until fall. He said if new sidewalks were installed in October, the concrete might not have enough time to cure before winter, and scattered road salt might pit the concrete.

“I’d hate to see the town invest that money and end up with a poor-quality product,” Klavoon said. “We have five years to spend the money we did receive.”

He said if the state Department of Transportation gives permission, the city might rebid the job during the winter to be first in line for work next spring.

Klavoon said Walmart put $250,000 in escrow to pay for the sidewalks as a condition of its special-use permit for the store on the Lockport Mall site. But he said that may not be enough to pay for the job.

No one showed up for a contractors’ prebid meeting Wednesday. With bids due next week, Klavoon doesn’t know what the outcome will be. By contrast, three companies appeared for a pre-bid meeting on the associated Shimer Drive waterline replacement project, for which bids also will be opened next week.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com