A heated bidding war was extinguished today after a seven-month court battle pulled two Clark County commissioners into the middle.
The commission voted 4-1 to reject all bids to widen the northern Las Vegas Beltway between Decatur Boulevard and Tenaya Way. The action halted the feud between rival bidders Las Vegas Paving and Fisher Sand and Gravel.
Commissioners Tom Collins and Steve Sisolak followed a federal judge’s orders and didn’t discuss or vote on the current bids. They left the chambers before talks began and returned to weigh in on alternative projects that could be funded.
Roughly $140 million will be used instead to make smaller improvements on the same Beltway stretch and to install a $22 million interchange at North Fifth Street.
“We need to put people back to work,” Commissioner Rory Reid said.
New bids will be taken.
Before the vote, attorneys representing Las Vegas Paving and Fisher argued that the commission should award the contract to their clients.
But a few commissioners made it clear they were fed up with the squabbling that had stalled the roadwork.
Commissioner Larry Brown said the litigation was certain to drag on if the county stayed with this project.
Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, who cast the lone vote against rejecting the bids, argued that the county should award Las Vegas Paving the contract.
The project has bounced between the courts and the commission since April.
Commissioners awarded the contract twice to Las Vegas Paving, even though its $116.8 million bid was higher than Fisher’s $112.2 million bid.
They approved Las Vegas Paving the first time after the company argued that some of Fisher’s subcontractors lacked proper licensing. A Clark County district judge ruled that Las Vegas Paving missed the deadline for challenging Fisher’s bid.
Commissioners chose Las Vegas Paving the second time after Sisolak questioned Fisher about a list of violations it had incurred in several states.
Fisher accused Sisolak and Collins of favoring a union contractor.
The judge found no bias. But he approved an order that barred the two commissioners from participating.
Collins challenged the order, saying he had never agreed to it. He also argued that it was unconstitutional to deny him his right to represent his constituents.
The same judge ruled that Collins’ rights weren’t infringed upon, based on federal guidelines.
Collins complied with the judge’s order today.
He then pressed to have the same stretch of Beltway between Decatur and Tenaya improved on a smaller scale, saying it was a priority. He also backed the installation of the North Fifth Street interchange.
Both are in his district.
Sisolak said the interchange will make it much easier for drivers to gain access to shopping complexes near the Beltway.
“I think this is long overdue,” he said.
Contact reporter Scott Wyland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-455-4519.