S.D. road work awarded, despite some high bids

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Transportation Commission accepted low bids for six road and bridge projects Thursday. Three will cost much more than estimated.

One is rehabilitation of the historic wooden Keystone bridge on US 16A in Pennington County. Of four contractors seeking the job, Corr Construction Services Inc. of Hermosa was lowest at $4,498,771.30, but that was still nearly 39% over the $3,239,686.30 estimate.

Sam Weisgram from the state Department of Transportation said there were unusual conditions that made the project difficult to bid, such as the rising price for timber and the need to close the structure to traffic during the tourism off-season between Labor 2021 and Memorial Day 2022.

Another is work at the I-90 rest areas near Vivian in Lyman County. Anderson Contractors Inc. of Pierre at $899,438.51 was lowest of two bids. That was 17.2% over the $767,248.80 estimate.

The third is laying durable pavement markings on various routes in Bennett, Campbell and Walworth counties. Traffic Services Company LLC of Black Hawk at $165,954.12 was lowest of two bidders. That was 12.7% above the $147,279.40 estimate.

One of the projects, replacement of fencing along US 85 from the Wyoming border to Cheyenne Crossing, needed three tries to get a bid below estimate.

Weisgram said the February 2020 bids were too high. The U.S. Forest Service agreed to clear trees to make the project more attractive, but a February 2021 offering didn’t generate any bids.

The current offer generated two bids. Elite Enterprises LLC of St. Onge was low at $600,000.55. The estimate was $713,134.50.

Commissioner Mike Vehle of Mitchell thanked the department for figuring out a way to make it work. “Because this is the third time.” He wrote “Yay” next to the project summary.

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