The company that was low bidder on the contract for installation of cellular phone equipment for Orange County's freeway emergency call-box system was denied a court order Thursday that would have halted the $4.7-million project.
Lawyers for Cubic Communications said the county was legally obligated to award the contract to that firm instead of to Cellular Communications Corp., a GTE Mobilnet subsidiary.
But Superior Court Judge Gary L. Ryan denied Cubic's request for a preliminary injunction. He ruled that the law is not clear on whether competitive bidding procedures requiring that contracts go to low bidders apply in this case.
Lawyers representing the county said the contract decision was based not only on price--Cubic's bid was $1 million lower than Cellular's--but also on the type of equipment to be used and the equipment's track record in the field.
"It's not like seeing who can pour cement for the least amount of money," Deputy County Counsel David G. Epstein said.