The end is near. But it’s not coming without some unnamed opposition.

The end is near.

But it’s not coming without some unnamed opposition.

Construction of the 10th and final phase of Little Blue Parkway is scheduled to start soon, closing out years of vision and work for the roadway and marking the beginning of what many Independence officials say will be a boon of residential and commercial expansion.

But some say the recommended – although not yet approved – contractor for the multimillion-dollar project should be rejected.

John Powell, the city’s director of Public Works, gave an update on the longtime project at Monday night’s City Council study session. The council is slated to make a final vote and award the contract on May 7.

The project was slightly delayed after eight bids were received and later rejected in January because the project’s notice wasn’t advertised as required.

The project was rebid in March, and four bids were received from V.F. Anderson, Radmacher Brothers, Kat Excavating and Loch Sand and Construction.

City staff are recommending V.F. Anderson’s $3,859,395 bid for approval. Management Analyst Zachary Walker reviewed the contract and second bidding process, saying, “… they contain no provisions that would be considered harmful or unacceptable to the city.”

Projected to take about seven months, Phase 10 of Little Blue Parkway will extend about a half-mile north of Bundschu Road to U.S. 24 and will reconstruct about a half-mile of westbound U.S. 24.

Also included in the project is the relocation and lowering of westbound U.S. 24 lanes about 14 feet for a future bridge over U.S. 24 when Little Blue Parkway will extend further north in the future.

The project bid called for two different material types – asphalt, as a base bid, and concrete, as an alternate bid. Concrete pavement, Powell said, is expected to have a lower maintenance cost over the useful life of the road compared to asphalt pavement.

“The present value of those maintenance cost savings is taken into account when comparing the asphalt and the concrete bids,” Powell said.

Powell said three factors are taken into account when considering a contractor: to determine whether a bid is qualified and responsive; to determine which bid is the lowest responsive by a qualified and responsible bidder, and award the contract on this basis; and the city can reject any and all bids.

All four bidders for Phase 10 have successfully completed projects for Independence, Powell said, and they all are also on the Missouri Department of Transportation-approved contractor listing.

Three of the bidders are now constructing projects for the city, and in 2011, V.F. Anderson completed three projects in Independence. Both Walker and MoDOT have approved the handling of the project and say it should move forward with V.F. Anderson Builders as the contractor.

However, Powell said, he’s received calls from four people with four different companies “who are not in agreement that V.F. Anderson should receive this contract.”

At-Large Council Member Lucy Young asked what those in opposition suggested instead of awarding the contract to V.F. Anderson.

“I believe they are suggesting that we reject V.F. Anderson and move to the second bidder,” Powell said, which would be Radmacher Brothers, based on the bid dollar figures.

Once completed, the Little Blue Parkway will link four major roadways – U.S. 40, Interstate 70, Missouri 78/23rd Street and U.S. 24.