By Dana Amihere

BWI Airport

Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport

A Colorado firm that was the low bidder on a $44 million project at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport beat out two well-connected local companies — Bethesda’s Clark Construction Group and Whiting -Turner Construction headquartered in Baltimore. The Board of Public Works approved the contract for a new terminal connector and security checkpoint Wednesday.

Whiting-Turner ranked No. 1 for its technical factors, but Hansel Phelps of Colorado bid $4.7 million less and was ultimately chosen.

“Hensel Phelps has many years of experience in other major projects throughout Maryland” said airport spokesman Jonathan Dean, including Fort Meade, Pax River, Social Security Administration and Johns Hopkins labs. “The contract award was based on the firm’s expertise, experience and value for this specific job,” Dean said.

Hensel Phelps also has previous experience at BWI, completing the $150 million construction of Terminal A/B for Southwest Airlines, the largest airline flying out of BWI, in 2005.

The new contracts presented to the board are for the first two of three phases of improvements which include construction of an airside connector to allow passengers access to Concourses A, B and C and a new security checkpoint which would serve all three concourses.

With the additional expansion and renovation of Concourse C, the oldest section of the airport, total project costs are estimated around $100 million to be completed by next summer.

Coming to a ladies’ room near you…

In one of the more unusual items to be found on the BPW agenda, with no comment, the board also approved a 3-year contract for the furnishing, installation, collection and disposal of feminine hygiene collection units in the airport’s women’s restrooms — worth $1.5 million, if a two-year extension is granted.

The airport approached 10 different firms to bid on the contract, including five minority-owned business, but only one responded, the current supplier, Workplace Essentials of Billerica, Mass.

There are “only a limited number of firms that offer hygienic bactericide solution system in self-contained containers, including collection and disposal services,” airport officials told the board in its written submission.

Here’s how the company explains this part of its business on the website.

“In the ladies’ restroom, the bins used for sanitary waste disposal are the most contaminated hot-spots, and the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens is often overlooked. The Hepatitis B and C viruses, which are extremely dangerous, are the most common hazards one faces when handling this type of waste.”

An average of over 61,000 passengers a day use BWI.