Commission OKs more S.D. road projects and preps for a new development at Sioux Falls

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The state Transportation Commission has awarded 10 more projects on South Dakota highways.

The panel approved the latest round of contracts Thursday. One job calls for a new bridge at Rahn Lake in Tripp County that came in at a price much higher than expected.

The structure on 296th Street northeast of Millboro was estimated to cost $880,232.80. The low bid of $1,197,550.40 came from Corr Construction Services Inc. of Hermosa.

This was the second time the project was offered for bids. Two bids were received. The first attempt in April drew one bid that the commission rejected because it was too high.

This time, there didn’t appear to be any other viable option other than to accept the low bid, according to Sam Weisgram of the state Department of Transportation. He said Tripp County officials supported awarding the work.

“Still high, but lower,” observed the commission’s chairman, Mike Vehle of Mitchell.

Commissioner Don Roby of Watertown compared the estimate and the bids. “What caused that disparity twice?” Roby asked.

“I don’t feel there’s anything glaring that we missed,” Weisgram answered, noting the latest low offer brought down the price about $200,000. “I attribute most of this to the physical location of this job. It’s very, very remote. It’s down near the Nebraska line.”

The commission also added an emergency project — raising flooded SD 262 southeast of Alexandria in Hanson County — and accepted a bid of $1,971,928.26 from Midland Contracting Inc. of Huron. All five bids were higher than the department estimate of $1,885,765.05.

The job calls for an interim surface open to traffic November 27 and a final surface open July 16, 2021. “It’s been under water since about September of last year,” Vehle said.

The commission also added other projects to the 2020 plan: $125,000 for a statewide winter-conditions speed study and an estimated $976,000 project to modify the Marion Road intersection at exit 396 along I-90 at Sioux Falls.

The Marion Road work is to serve Foundation Park, according to Mike Behm, the department’s director of planning and engineering. “There’s some pending development looking to move forward in that location,” Behm said.

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