Bank Street reconstruction project moving ahead


The long-awaited reconstruction of Bank Street is moving ahead, as the Princeton Council awarded a contract for $1.4 million to Earle Asphalt Co. at its Nov. 9 meeting.

The Princeton Council had awarded a $1 million contract to S. Brothers Inc. last month, but the South River-based contractor withdrew its bid after it discovered that its bid contained an error in pricing.

Earle Asphalt Co., which is based in Farmingdale, was the second lowest bidder – at $1.4 million – of the three contractors that bid on the job. The third bidder was Z. Brothers Concrete Contractors of Sayreville, which offered a bid of $1.7 million for the project.

Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton had estimated the project to cost $1.5 million. Part of the cost of the project will be offset by a $214,937 grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s municipal aid grant program.

Acknowledging that two of the three bids were below the engineer’s estimate, Stockton said that her office “errs on the side of caution” when it prepares its engineer’s estimate for a job. The goal is to encourage enough competition from among contractors to bid for the job, she said.

The Bank Street project, which has been in the works for more than a year, calls for replacing the sanitary sewer main underneath Bank Street and replacing the sanitary sewer lateral lines to the homes on Bank Street. An underground drainage system will be installed for stormwater runoff.

The cement curbs will be replaced with granite curbs in front of the houses. The concrete sidewalks also will be replaced. A raised crosswalk will be installed at the intersection of Bank Street and Nassau Street.

But the project does not include installing the utilities underground, as some residents had requested.

Mayor Liz Lempert said the town looked into burying the utilities underground, but it is expensive. An “enormous” concrete vault would have to be installed under the road, and Bank Street is a tight, narrow street, she said.

Lempert said “more time” has been spent on analyzing the Bank Street project and the possibility of installing utilities underground than on any other road project.

Nevertheless, work will begin on the project in the next few weeks. The sanitary sewer replacement segment will be accomplished first. The sidewalks and curbs will be replaced in the spring, and then Bank Street will be repaved.