Here’s a puzzler: Why did a South Dakota road project draw zero bids?

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Road work ahead generic construction

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Rarely does the state Department of Transportation propose a project that doesn’t attract at least one contractor.

But that’s what happened this week.

The job was to put in traffic signals and curb ramps in Watertown at the intersection of US 212 and 33rd Street Southeast.

The department estimated the project would cost somewhere around $188,750.

The state Transportation Commission decides which contractors get which projects.

The lowest bid normally wins, especially if it’s not more than 10 percent above the estimate.

But this time there was no one there.

That made the commission’s chairman, Mike Vehle of Mitchell, wonder whether contractors already had plenty of work.

Sam Weisgram oversees the department’s bidding process. He couldn’t say for sure.

Weisgram said the department was confident someone would want to do the project.

Some supplies had even been purchased ahead of the work.

“So we were kind of surprised we didn’t get any bids,” Weisgram said.

But after looking into it a little further, Weisgram said not getting a bid was “not a complete surprise.” 

He said the project would be let a second time.

Here are 11 projects the commission did award during the teleconference Thursday.

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