The state Department of Transportation will split the downtown Amtrak station project into two contracts, seeking separate bids to demolish the current station next year and then build a new station in 2018.
A request for bids on the station demolition and associated concrete repair and replacement work was released last week, with a Sept. 22 bid opening planned.
Bids for construction of the new station will be sought in the fall of 2017, said DOT spokeswoman Carol Breen.
The decision to split the project in two came after an effort to bid the project under a single contract came in $10 million over budget in April, with just one company bidding. The single $24.9 million bid was rejected because of the cost.
Officials had hoped for a $14.6 million construction budget.
“We’re hopeful that splitting the project in two will attract more bidders,” Breen said.
The plan, years in the making, is to replace a deteriorated station used by about 61,000 passengers per year with a new building that more resembles the grand 1910 Union Station that was torn down in the 1970s.
City officials are hopeful that a new station, along with the opening of the Rivers Casino in 2017, will result in more passenger traffic through the Erie Boulevard station in the heart of downtown Schenectady.
After the bid rejection, the state awarded a $900,000 contract to Wendel Duschschrerer of Amherst to redesign the station in an effort to lower the cost.
While new cost estimates are still pending, “We’re trying to keep it with the same look and feel as the original,” Breen said.
In addition to demolishing the old station, the work currently being bid will include repairs to a concrete viaduct that carries the tracks.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail service, will take responsibility for building a temporary station to operate while the new station is being built.
An Amtrak contractor is currently building a second track between Albany and Schenectady, which is also expected to improve regional passenger rail service.
The single track between the two cities has caused travel delays and requires Amtrak to coordinate closely with freight rail services.
A prebid meeting for contractors interested in the demolition and concrete work will be held Aug. 17 at DOT headquarters, 50 Wolf Road, Colonie.
“We’re advertising now so that contractors will have time to get their questions answered and hopefully be more willing to bid,” Breen said.
The work will need to be closely coordinated with Amtrak, according to bidding documents, and will include lead and asbestos removal.
In an unrelated issue, four trains were delayed at Schenectady Monday after a utility police near the tracks was damaged.
“A piece of equipment used by a contractor working in the area damaged a utility pole,” said Amtrak spokesman Craig Schultz. “Trains were held clear until the pole could be secured.”
The trains were delayed for about two hours each, Schultz said.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.