Some road bids are rising again in South Dakota

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Nine highway and bridge projects across South Dakota won approval this week in the latest rounds of contractors bids, even though several could cost much more than expected.

The state Transportation Commission meanwhile rejected low bids on two other projects.

One of those sent back for more revision was for culvert repairs at seven crossings in Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Hutchinson and Yankton counties. It was the second time the state Department of Transportation decided the project needed further consideration.

The only bidder for the culvert work was BX Civil and Construction Inc. of Dell Rapids. Its bid of $1,340,00 was more than 74 percent above the $768,007.55 estimate.

DOT official Sam Weisgram said there wasn’t a rush. He acknowledged the previous round attracted lower offers but the scope of the work changed since. “These culverts are all performing now,” Weisgram said. He added, “We’re in good shape for another year.”

The second rejection was for installing rumble strips down center lines on state highways in Brookings, Codington, Deuel, Hamlin and Kingsbury counties.

The sole bidder for the rumble-strip work was Surface Preparation Technologies Inc., a Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, company that recently purchased a Minnesota company. Its bid of $1,701,362.00 was nearly 52 percent above the $1,120,031.40 estimate.

DOT’s Weisgram told commissioners he’s been talking with company officials about how to make traffic control more flexible and reduce costs.

Not many companies in the region have equipment for rumble strip work, Weisgram said.

Surface Preparation Technologies was the only bidder for another rumble-strip project. The commission accepted the offer of $144,771.40 to install them on highways in Beadle, Brookings, Brown, Buffalo, Day, Edmunds, Grant, Hamlin, Hand, Marshall, Miner and Roberts counties. The bid was 14.5 percent above the $126,469.60 estimate.

The commission reluctantly accepted the $14,012,206.89 bid from Runge Enterprises Inc. of Sioux Falls for major work on State Highway 46 in Clay and Lincoln counties, from west of the junction of State Highway 19 and 19A to one-half mile west of Interstate 29.

Three companies bid, with Runge lowest at 29.4 percent above the $10,826,018.91 estimate. Weisgram said weather and field conditions contributed to the high numbers and the project attracted competition. He recommended approval because there didn’t seem to be a viable alternate.

That stirred a comment from commissioner Mike Vehle of Mitchell: “Normally I don’t know if I would be excited about doing this.” Vehle asked about competition among bridge companies. Weisgram said there hasn’t been an influx. “Everybody is busy,” Weisgram said.

Another project was awarded at a considerable cost savings. Schweigert Construction Inc. of Gregory was lowest of six bidders at $3,598,043.87 for work on US 18 in Bennett County. That was 12.7 percent below the $4,121,816.99 estimate. The project calls for grading and interim surfacing a 2.5-mile stretch from east of Vetal to the Todd County line.

The flip side, where a project cost more than estimated, was replacement of a structure over Frog Creek on Norwegian Avenue southeast of Irene in Clay County.

Nolz Dragline and Construction Co. of Sioux Falls was lower of two bids. The $507,795.68 offer was 28.2 percent above estimate — but Clay County was willing to pay its 20 percent even at that amount, according to Weisgram. The state commission approved it.

The commission also accepted:

A low bid of $407,402.10 from Prahm Construction Inc. of Slayton, Minnesota, to replace a structure over Rock Creek in Miner County that is seven miles south and 2.6 miles east of Carthage. Six companies bid. Prahm’s offer was 4.2 percent above estimate.

A low bid of $930,000.00 from BX Civil and Construction to work on bridge decks on US 14 east of Volga 1.9 miles, US 14B near Brookings and at three spots on State Highway 22, in Brookings and Deuel counties. There was one other bidder. The BX bid was 18.3 percent above the $786,404.05 estimate.

Spencer Quarries Inc. of Spencer, South Dakota, was low bidder at $3,242,162.07 for work in Buffalo and Lyman counties on State Highway 34 from Fort Thompson to State Highway 50; on State Highway 47 from Big Bend Dam to Fort Thompson; and State Highway 249 from Fort Thompson to State Highway 50.

Three other contractors bid for the Fort Thompson-area project. Spencer Quarries’ bid was 13.5 percent above the $2,855,575.18 estimate.

Bituminous Paving Inc. of Ortonville, Minnesota, was low bidder at $6,950,879.72 for resurfacing and installing rumble strips on a 21-mile stretch of US 83 in Todd County from the Nebraska border to Mission. Two other contractors bid. The low bid was 4.7 percent above the $6,640,694.60 estimate.

Hamm Contracting of Marion was low bidder at $671,897.00 — that’s 14.7 percent below estimate — for signing and other work on various local roads in Hanson County. Two other contractors bid.

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