WHEATON – Wheaton officials now hope restoration work on the Front Street train station following a November 2017 fire will be done by winter after the city's insurance carrier accepted a contractor's bid to repair the station.
The city initially bid out the project in April. Only one contractor – Tessler Construction – responded, and its $396,000 bid was about $100,000 above the estimate of Chubb, the city's insurance carrier, which did not find it acceptable. The city then rebid the project in June.
The bid response format was simplified to encourage more respondents, Assistant City Manager John Duguay said. After the project was rebid, the city received three bids.
Tessler's bid of $396,809 was still the lowest bid. Construction Consulting submitted the highest bid – $510,210 – followed by Maman Corp.'s $493,102.33 bid. Chubb has accepted Tessler's bid, and Wheaton City Council members at their Aug. 6 meeting unanimously voted to approve an agreement with Tessler.
Because of the fire, the station's washrooms currently are not available, and there is no ticket agent at the facility.
"Hopefully we'll get this work done before winter," City Manager Mike Dzugan told City Council members.
Councilwoman Suzanne Fitch wondered how the work was going to affect commuters as the weather turns colder.
"How are we going to shelter our commuters when the weather gets cold?" she asked.
Duguay said the work should be finished by Nov. 1. Dzugan said he thought the station could be opened temporarily during construction.
"We'll have to discuss that with the contractor," Duguay said. "If we are not going to keep it open, I think they might be able to go quicker in their renovations. We'll probably try to weigh that."
No one was injured in the fire, which was determined to be accidental in nature. The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire.
Wheaton Fire Department officials previously said the fire appeared to be related to a malfunctioning heater unit.
The city leases the building from Union Pacific Railroad.