La Pata Extension Gets a Contractor

The $72.2 million project will take four years to complete.

The La Pata Avenue extension connecting San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente.
The La Pata Avenue extension connecting San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente.

Orange County supervisors today unanimously approved a $72.7 million contract for a four-lane road to the Prima Deshecha Landfill in San Clemente and other improvements.

The supervisors rejected a $68 million bid from California Coastal Development Inc. because of its ties to rejected bidder, Papich Construction Co. Instead, the contract went to Sukut Construction Inc., which bid $72.7 million.

The work will be done in three phases. The first phase is four new lanes from the Prima Deshecha Landfill to Calle Saluda in San Clemente, linking the city to Ortega Highway.

The second phase is widening of La Pata Avenue from three to five lanes from about 750 feet south of Ortega Highway to the landfill.

The final phase is making Camino Del Rio into a four-lane road from San Clemente to La Pata Avenue.

Bidding on the job has been fraught with problems. Last month, the board threw out three bids and advertised for new offers.

The supervisors were under pressure to pick a contractor because federal funding is about to expire.

Supervisor Patricia Bates doubted California Coastal could get the project done at the price it promised.

“We need to move (the project) forward, but I think there's a great deal of discomfort (with California Coastal) and that's an understatement,” Bates said.

Bates noted that a couple of low-bid contracts in her district ended up in litigation in recent years.

“So you can see my trepidation, but, again, we're under the gun,” Bates said while discussing staff's recommendation to approve California Coastal's bid.

“We need to be assured that this is as presented and that the bid is really $68 million,'' Bates said as the supervisors considered delaying a vote today.

The work is expected to take about four years.

- City News Service

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