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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Emeryville Paid Contractor $818,000 For an Unusable Bike Path

If You Wear Dentures, Don't Use the New Christie Ave Bike Path

Bone Jarringly Bumpy Asphalt: "Meets CalTrans Specs" 

An important heretofore missing bike path section of the Bay Trail through Emeryville has been completed along Christie Avenue earlier this year but City officials admit the path isn't being used as much as they had hoped, probably because of its extremely rough surface as a result of "poor workmanship" by the construction contractor according to the City engineer.  Even though the work was signed off by the City, numerous City staffers and Council members are complaining about the terrible condition of the asphalt there.  Bike East Bay, the premier local bike advocacy group agreed the path is too bumpy and they suggested City Council members consider redoing the path after receiving complaints about it from their members.  However the Tattler has learned the City paid the contractor who built the path, Tiburon based Redwood Engineering, the final payment in full in April and no recourse for a fix or restitution exists at this point. Any additional fixes would have to be born exclusively by the taxpayers said the City engineer.  The Mayor Scott Donahue refused to comment to the Tattler about any plans to repair the path.

The City engineer and head of Public Works, Maurice Kaufman told the Tattler he's not happy with the low quality of the work done by Redwood, "It wasn't the best" he said after he indicated the bumpy surface nonetheless meets CalTrans specifications, still "It would have been nice to have a smoother path" he said.  Mayor Donahue disagreed, "It's a little bit lumpy" he said but he thought it would serve a useful function for bike safety as a speed inhibitor. Leaving that aside, several bicyclers were observed using the street rather than subject themselves to the bone jarring ride along the new bike path recently as the Tattler filmed the experience from a bicyclist's perspective for this story (below).

Redwood Engineering, originally the lowest bidder out of five contractors originally bid $739,125 for the job but bumped up (so to speak) that number by $79,445 due to "unforeseen additional work" bringing the total to $818,570.  After the added costs unforeseen by Redwood Engineering, their bid price ended up being the fourth highest.
The bids delivered to the City listed lowest to highest:
1. Redwood Engineering Construction $739,125  ($818,0570 actually charge to City)
2. Phoenix Electric Company $749,687 
3. Bauman Landscape and Construction $775,846 
4. Sposeto Engineering Inc. $786,460 
5. Ray’s Electric Inc. $913,650

The City received a grant from Alameda County for $550,00 to put towards the job (funds from voter backed Measure B) leaving Emeryville with a bill for $269,000.
The City made the final payment in April but not before Mr Kaufman rode the path himself to check on the quality of the work, "I wish it rode better"" he acknowledged after he approved the last payment.  Regarding the poor workmanship done by Redwood Engineering on the Christie Avenue bike path, the City engineer added, "I wouldn't want them to do another paving job in town".


  1. Speed inhibitor? What a laugh. Bicycling is already too slow. This is just a coverup from the mayor to hide the screwup by the city engineer. Just go ahead and fix the damn thing. We don't want to spend that much money and wind up with something so defective. They don't want to fix it because it'll be an embarrassment for the city. So they turned the f-up into speed inhibitors.

    1. I could not get a very good estimate from City officials on the cost to re-pave the path. $30,000 at the minimum was given by way of an estimate. I happen to agree with you about this bike facility. It would be better at this point to just admit we were taken and hire another firm to re-pave it. As it stands now, it's just another City Hall boondoggle . Let's get something usable for bicycling.

    2. As someone who has been hit in a crosswalk by a cyclist running a red light, I can promise you, cycling is not too slow.

    3. You got hit by a cyclist? Wow. Good thing pedestrians never get hit by cars. Maybe we should make bicycling illegal. It'd be much safer for pedestrians.

  2. Well, here you go. Since I don't know all the details and have not seen the path, except for the excellent video showing the bumpy ride, I can't quite give a "review."

    But you can! Maybe Redwood will choose to fix it on their own.