Dunwoody has chosen a new construction company to move forward with street improvements along Chamblee-Dunwoody Road after ending its agreement with the original contractor. 

At an April 12 meeting, the Dunwoody City Council approved a construction contract with Lewallen Construction Company in the amount of about $6.84 million for the Georgetown Gateway Project. The Gateway project includes landscape enhancements, traffic adjustments, and the addition of walking paths to the section of Chamblee-Dunwoody Road between Cotillion Drive and Peeler Road. 

The city initially approved a contract with the company SD&C for about $6.11 million in July of 2020, but had to wait on contract approval from the Georgia Department of Transportation. In light of upcoming, unfinished GDOT projects — in particular the addition of toll lanes at the top end of I-285 — the city coordinated efforts on this project with GDOT. 

A spokesperson said GDOT received the contract in September of 2020 and executed the contract on Dec. 18, 2020. However, Public Works Director Michael Smith said, Dunwoody did not receive the contract until January of this year.  

A GDOT spokesperson said because Dunwoody opted to handle utilities on its own — something that is usually handled by GDOT — there was a “reduction in the scope” of the contract, which caused SD&C to withdraw their bid. However, Smith said the contract ended because SD&C said its subcontractors were going to be asking for a 10-15% increase over the original $6.11 million contract. 

“When the city asked in writing for SD&C to confirm that they would accept the contract with the original bid prices, they responded in writing that they would not be opposed to a decision by the city to declare the bid non-responsive as long as the city didn’t take any adverse action against SD&C,” Smith said.  

SD&C did not respond to requests for comment. 

Smith said the city moved on to the second bidder, Lewallen Construction, who was the second lowest bidder after SD&C when the original bids were made. 

Utility relocation, which has to happen before construction begins, was set to start in the fall of 2020, but Smith said the timeline has been delayed.

“We’re going to lose a little bit of time on the project,” he said. “This project has a lot of utility relocation, and so we have been working with utilities. Atlanta Gas Light is getting geared up to start moving the gas main this summer and Georgia Power is working on getting their easements.” 

Smith said while the schedule has shifted a few months, construction is expected to start in 2022 and end in 2024.