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Road Bids Come In Well Under Estimates

By Staff | Mar 11, 2010

Any time a governmental entity opens bids on a construction project, there is a certain sense of uneasiness – a fear of the unknown, as the bids are opened. Such was not the case in Tuesday’s bid opening for the proposed re-construction of  County Road B53 east of Ayrshire.

John Wright, Assistant to the Palo Alto County Engineer, opened seven sealed bids for the B53 reconstruction project during the weekly meeting of the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors on March 9 and the end results brought smiles all the way around.

Wright filled in for County Engineer Joel Fantz, who is recuperating from surgery and was unable to attend the bid opening.  In a briefing with the supervisors prior to the bid opening, Wright noted that the Engineer’s Office had sent out 63 sets of plans for the road project to various contractors and suppliers in response to requests for the plans.

“There was a lot of interest in this project,” Wright noted.

The project, covering 7.6 miles of B53 from the east edge of  Ayrshire to Iowa Highway Four, will consist of complete reconstruction of the roadway, including removal of the old road surface, widening, regrading and construction of new eight-inch Portland Concrete cement paving. The project is similar in nature to projects completed on the Depew pavement last year and County Road B14 east of Graettinger in 2007.

According to Wright, the engineering estimate for the B53 project totaled $5,180,000, for a cost of approximately $681,000 per mile.

A total of seven bids were submitted to the Engineer’s Office at 10 a.m. and were opened by Wright in the Supervisors Board Room at 11 a.m, with all five supervisors and representatives of each of the bidding contractors on hand, as well as staff from the Engineer’s and Auditors’ Offices.

The first bid opened by Wright was submitted the Allied Manatts Group, LLC of Charles City, who bid $4,123,693.32 for the project. A soft gasp was heard from the crowd.

A bid of $3,951,397.05 was submitted by Knife River Midwest, LLC of Sioux City, but the accompanying Bid Security form did not list the $250,000 amount specified by the bid documents, but after further study, it was determined that the security form did in fact meet the bid requirements for the bond security

Wright then opened a bid from Concrete Foundations of New Hampton in the amount of $3,865,942.30 and a bid of $3,985,283.50 from the Flynn Company LLC, of Dubuque. The next bid came from Upper Plains Contracting of Aberdeen, South Dakota, and quoted a price of $3,864,085.48 for the project, a thousand dollars less than the Concrete Foundations bid. A bid of $4,166,926.76 was then opened from Concrete Technologies of Urbandale, bringing Wright to the final bid, which was submitted by Cedar Valley Corporation of Waterloo, the contractor for the previous two county paving projects.

Cedar Valley submitted a bid of $3,893,947.57 for the project, some $1.2 million under the engineer’s estimate.

However, the apparent low bid for the project came from Upper Plains Contracting of Aberdeen, SD, at $3,864,085.48, some $1,3 million under the engineer’s estimate.

No further action was taken following the opening of the bids, as the Engineer’s staff will check the bid figures before making a recommendation to award a contract. That contract could be awarded at the Supervisor’s meeting on March 16.

Once the contract is awarded construction could begin as soon as the contractor is able to mobilize to the area.