PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Transportation Commission had an easier time awarding road and bridge projects to contractors on Thursday.

Contractors submitted low bids that were below estimates for six of nine projects on South Dakota highways.

The commission followed the state Department of Transportation’s recommendations to accept eight of them and reject one.

Mike Behm, the department’s director of planning and engineering, said DOT officials held a meeting last month with contractors about upcoming projects.

He sensed the session paid off.

“I’m happy to see the number of bidders we have for the projects,” Behm told the commissioners. “We’re seeing some good competition right now.” 

Commission chair Jafir Karim of Rapid City said the proof would be in the numbers. “I hope we’re seeing some of the results or evidence of it,” he said. 

The one rejection Thursday came on a project laying deck seals on five bridges on SD65, US212, US85 and SD75 in Harding, Perkins and Ziebach counties. The estimate was $672,329.70. The only bid came from RAM Construction Services of Michigan, based at Livonia, Minnesota. At $1,462,422.58, it was 117% over the estimate.

Sam Weisgram from DOT’s Office of Project Development said the department would work on options to bid the work again later.

Two other projects had low bids that were higher than the estimates, but the department recommended approval of both.

One was working at three structures on SD324 south of Brookings, including one across I-29. PCi Roads of St. Michael, Minnesota, was lowest of three bidders at $2,107,499.15, which was 34% above the $1,573,116.10 estimate.

The second was replacing 860 feet of sewer storm and resurfacing that stretch of US281 in Armour. Midwest Contracting of Marshall, Minnesota, submitted the lower of two bids at $941,074.94, which was 28% above the $731,920.65 estimate.

To see all the bid results, go here.