South Dakota commission rejects several road and bridge bids

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre Capitol building legislature

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Transportation Commission faced more low bids that have lately been much too high for many road and bridge projects Thursday.

Commissioners decided three of the projects should be set aside to be re-bid later.

One is the busy intersection of 41st Street and Western Avenue in Sioux Falls.

The project calls for replacing sewer and watermain and rebuilding the street.

The city was to pay for all of the underground work and share the rest of the cost with the state.

Dakota Contracting Corporation of Sioux Falls had the lower of two bids at $4,741,136.25 for all the work.

That was nearly $400,000 less than the other bidder.

But it was still 15 percent more than the official estimate for the street work and 85 percent high for the utilities, according to Sam Weisgram.

He handles project bids for the state Department of Transportation. His recommendation was the state commission reject and take it up again in the future. He said Sioux Falls city officials agreed.

So that’s what the commissioners did. 

They rejected two others too.

One was a North Sioux City project to reconstruct a pathway along Streeter Drive, between River Drive and Bruneau Drive. 

The estimated cost was $201,700.56 with a 75-25 state-local split. The lower of two bids was $344,574.76 from Big Al’s Contracting Inc. of Sioux Falls.

“We do not feel we can justify the prices received at this time,” Weisgram said.

He also recommended rejection of a project to resurface bridge decks on six structures along U.S. 14 in the Huron area, including across Ravine Lake.

The estimate was $499,286.05. The lower of two bids was $730,704.92 from BX Civil and Construction Inc. of Dell Rapids.

There were other projects where low bids came in well above estimates but the department recommended them.

Providing safe pathways to school in Murdo won approval even though low bids on the two pieces of the project were 24 and 35 percent high.

In this case, according to Weisgram, one part of the project was already on its second round of bidding. That 2016 job was put on hold when offers came in high.

This time Anderson Contractors of Pierre got the job. Its combined bids totaled $589,587.70, edging the other bidder by less than $11,000. Anderson’s bids were $134,969.00 above the combined estimates.

Weisgram said recommending it now would be “an appropriate decision” because there weren’t better options. This time commission approved it.

A lone bid for pipe repairs in the Mitchell area was 40 percent above estimate. But Weisgram said the bid was “justifiable,” given the weather and that contractors doing this type of work were “in high demand right now.” That meant Midwest Contracting of Marshall, Minnesota, received the project at $536,461.25

The lower of two bids for an erosion-control project at various spots along I-90 in Lawrence, Meade and Pennington counties was 21 percent over estimate. Weisgram said department staff couldn’t identify any concerns with bid pricing. Hilt Construction of Rapid City won the job at $422,564.50.  

Muth Electric of Mitchell was the only bidder for intersection improvements in Aurora, Clay, Hutchinson, Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha and Sanborn counties. The $213,820 bid was 43 percent over estimate, but Weisgram said savings couldn’t be identified. He said installing rumble strips, pavement markings signs and lighting were needed.

Mike Behm, the department’s director of planning and engineering, said the intersection project involved 90 percent federal funding and 10 percent local-government match. He said the federal funding would vary in amount year to year but would be taken away if it wasn’t used.

The commission approved five projects that were within 10 percent of the estimate or below estimate. They were:

Signing and delineation work on various Kingsbury County roads. Hamm Contracting of Marion was lowest of three bidders at $1,444,940.90. That was three percent below the estimate.

Microsurfacing 47 miles of SD 63 between 34 and US 212 in Haakon, Stanley, Dewey and Ziebach counties. Missouri Petroleum Products Co. of St. Louis, Missouri, was lowest of three bidders at $2,351,4.5.56. for 0.5 percent above estimate.

Pavement restoration and resurfacing crossovers on 46 miles of various routes in Fall River, Custer, Pennington and Lawrence counties. Complete Concrete, doing busines as Complete Contracting of Rapid City, was the only bidder at $1,963,091.62. That was nearly four percent below estimate.

Repairing and rehabilitating about 8 miles of US 18 from Carter east to the south junction of SD 53 in Tripp County. This was the day’s best deal. Interstate Improvement of Faribault, Minnesota, was the only bidder at $1,062,184.19 for 16.7 percent below estimate.

Dakota Traffic Services of Tea was the only bidder at $664,206.35 for pavement marking on I-29 from the area of the SD 48 junction to the area of the US 18 junction in Lincoln and Union counties. That was more than seven percent above estimate. 

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