PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Transportation Commission has occasionally been willing to pay much more than the estimated costs for some road and bridge projects. But sometimes contractors’ bids have been just too much.

That was the case Thursday, as the commissioners accepted the low bid on one project that was far above the estimate but rejected bids on two others that were judged to be just too high.

The panel approved a $16,707,398.87 bid from Perret Construction of Valentine, Nebraska, to replace three structures east of Philip in Haakon County where US14 crosses Grindstone Creek, Belcher Creek and Wilburn Creek.

The offer was 42% over the $11,769,894.91 estimate from the state Department of Transportation, but it was about $1.9 million lower than two competing bids. DOT’s Sam Weisgram said Perret’s offer was justifiable, “especially in consideration of the three competitive bids received.”

That wasn’t the case on two others.

Journey Group of Sioux Falls was the only contractor that offered to replace the decks and make improvements on two bridges over I-90 in McCook County at the Bridgewater and Canistota exits. The $7,417,556.80 bid was 49.7% more than DOT’s $4,956,136.30 estimate.

Weisgram told the commission that the price couldn’t be justified and the project could be re-let at a future date. Commissioner Mike Vehle of Mitchell asked why more bids weren’t received for a project that wasn’t in some far-off location such as northwestern South Dakota.

Weisgram said there has been a lot of demand for bridge contractors. He added there nonetheless was interest from a second company that ultimately chose not to bid. As to the project itself, Weisgram noted, “It’s very labor intensive and requires a lot of time.”

The commission also rejected a $179,147.22 bid from Muth Electric of Mitchell to add lighting and replace lighting along SD63 in Todd County at the He Dog School intersection and along four blocks in Parmalee. The bid was 71.9% above DOT’s $104,192.22 estimate but was $20,000 less than the bid of a competing contractor.

After Muth’s bid was turned down, Vehle asked about the timetable. Weisgram said there is another project in the area going to bid in the next few months that the Parmalee work could be combined with. “It really won’t change the timeframe for when this lighting will be in place,” he said.

The commission approved three other projects where the bids were less than DOT’s estimates.

BX Civil & Construction of Dell Rapids was the only contractor to bid on updating and repainting the US281 overpass of the Burlington Northern railroad tracks in Aberdeen. Its $2,314,312.30 bid was 39.6% below DOT’s $3,829,876.80 estimate.

Weisgram said BX’s price reflected competition among subcontractors to repaint the truss bridge. “We were surprised by the price of the painting. It was much lower than we anticipated,” he said.

Subsurface Inc. of Moorhead submitted the low bid of $445,994 to clean and line culverts at various locations in Spink County. That was 12.5% below DOT’s $509,595 estimate and about $560,000 less than the competing bid.

Dakota Traffic Services of Tea bid $246,522.18 to install durable traffic markings at various places in Clay, McCook, Minnehaha and Yankton counties. That was 18.4% below DOT’s $302,167.35 estimate and about $2,400 less than the competing bid.

To see all the bids that were considered, go here.