Construction on the Wilmington Multi-Modal Transportation Center is set to move forward this year.
After the project had been stalled for several months because of construction bidding and funding issues, the project could break ground sometime late summer or fall, pending the awarding of a construction contract, Albert Eby, executive director of the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority, said Friday.
The project is proposed for 11.5 acres between North Third and Fourth streets and Red Cross and Hanover streets. Construction of the center includes a WAVE Transit administration office and slips for 11 buses to replace the existing on-street transfer location at Second and Princess streets.
Two construction bids were received for the multi-modal transportation center in late July. Monteith Construction Corp. put in a bid at $3.9 million for the project and KMD Construction LLC placed a bid at $4.8 million, according to a bid document.
Earlier bids had put the project at nearly $4 million, almost double the authority’s $2.4 million budget for the project. That brought the multi-modal transportation project to a halt
. Designs for the center were then taken back to the drawing board to find ways to reduce the cost.
And the budget for the project has since increased to $4.1 million. Additional funding was approved by the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO) for the project this summer. Originally, the authority had requested an additional $2.2 million in funding for the project.
But that amount was changed to $1.7 million at the authority’s request “to ensure WMPO funding of $500,000 for preventative maintenance and ADA compliance; these funds have been awarded to the authority for the past several years by the WMPO and we rely on them to fund our operation,” Eby said.
“Based on the bid tab, we are confident that we can undertake the project with the original $2.4 million and additional $1.7 million,” he added.
Construction contracts to get the project going are being worked on and could be up for the authority board’s consideration in August or September, Eby said.
Based on this timeline, Eby said the project is expected to get started this year, with an estimated six to nine months of construction. Completion of the project depends on the availability of the second round of $1.7 million in funding for the project, he said.
Hazardous materials abatement, demolition and stabilization of the Neuwirth Building on the site have already taken place. Demolition the old U-Haul building located off Third Street took place in 2016 to make way for the transit center.
“I think we’ve kind of reached the peak and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I think its one of the biggest milestones of the project,” Eby said. “For 25 plus years it’s always been kind of a goal, but it has always been kind of in the distance. Now we can see the end.”