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$20 million project to begin next month

By Dionesis Tamondong HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Nov. 13, 2009) - Black Construction Corp. was awarded a US$20.4 million contract for the main construction of the landfill in Layon, Inarajan.

The work to be done under this contract will complete the court-ordered landfill, allow Layon to begin receiving waste and permit the final closure work of the Ordot dump to begin.

[PIR editor’s note: Black Construction Corp., which operates throughout the Western Pacific, is a holding of California-based Tutor-Saliba Corporation, among the country’s largest general contractors. ]

As well, the amount of the contract -- awarded through an open bid process -- is much lower than initially estimated and could affect tipping fee rates.

"We expect the savings to be significant, which will be a positive factor affecting long-term rates for consumers and commercial haulers," said David Manning, representative for federal receiver Gershman, Brickner & Bratton. The company announced the contract award yesterday.

The work, which includes the construction of two landfill cells, the administration building and truck scales, is scheduled to begin next month and be completed and ready for operation by May 2011 -- about 120 days before Ordot dump’s air space will be exhausted and no new waste can be accepted.

The government of Guam’s solid waste facility is under federal receivership because GovGuam failed to close the environmentally hazardous Ordot dump and build a new landfill.

Manning called the project bid price "very favorable" to the local government and solid waste customers. Black Construction was one of three firms that bid on the project.

"Current world-wide economic conditions and dramatically lower petroleum prices are significant factors in the positive pricing received in this bid process," the receiver’s announcement stated.

But Manning also noted the final cost of the overall project won’t be known until after it’s complete.

"It is entirely reasonable to expect that during the construction process, there will be issues that arise that will necessitate change orders that could increase the cost," Manning said.

The final construction projects will get into full swing as the island heads into improved weather conditions expected with the dry season. Heavy rains in recent months caused delays in the project’s timelines.

He went on to say that "the largest unknown" at this point is the cost of the final closure of Ordot dump.

"We have initially estimated that cost at US$40 million, but additional investigations could easily reveal environmental damage that exceed our assumptions, and that will have to be addressed. It is also possible that the cost could be lower once the investigations of environmental damage are complete and bids are taken," he said.

Black Construction joins two other Guam-based construction companies currently conducting landfill-related work.

Core Tech International in September was awarded a US$26.8 million contract to build roads and infrastructure, including 6.4 miles of sewer lines and two pump stations. In January, Maeda Pacific Corp. received the US$8.6 million contract for earthwork at the landfill.

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