Smoother roads may be ahead in Sioux Falls, but you will need to be patient. Construction is picking up, but some smaller projects are getting fewer bids resulting in higher prices.
Even though redesigning 8th Street has been a city priority since 2010, only one construction company, Buskerud Construction in Dell Rapids, bid on the project.
"It's a key gateway into downtown," Public Works Director Mark Cotter said.
It should look the part, and by next fall Minnesota Avenue to Main Avenue along 8th Street will look a lot more like Phillips Avenue. Beyond replacing road pavement, the surrounding sidewalks will include more plants and seating to attract more pedestrians. The medians will also include specially designed lights.
However, this road project has hit one speed bump.
"The final bid came in at $2.34 million," Cotter said.
That's about $150,000 more than the estimated cost. Cotter said road construction projects usually have between five and eight bids. The extras of this project might have turned off some companies.
"The hundreds of blocks we bid year after year are just straight roadway and sidewalk. Contractors are familiar and comfortable with that. A streetscape project you have to infuse planters, furniture, lighting and all of those factors are more of a building trade," Cotter said.
Only one bidding company is not a one way street to negative news. Cotter said the positive about the low number of bidders could mean more local construction companies are busy with other projects. Some companies might be waiting for something bigger.
"They look at what else is on the bid list and say, 'Alright, maybe at this point I will back away.' That is what several bidders did." Cotter said.
Even though the final bid is more money than planned, Cotter said officials are working on saving some money. By redesigning some of those extra features, city officials could save around $191,000 on the project.
Click on the image below for a larger picture of the final project.