Transportation panel rejects bids on two S.D. projects

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Transportation Commission accepted low bids on six construction projects Thursday but wants to go back to the drawing board on two others.

Contractors’ bids seemed too high on both for the state Department of Transportation staff to accept.

Two bids were received for a shared-use path in Sturgis along Otter Road, from Raccoon Road to Vanocker Canyon Road, and along Vanocker Canyon Road, from Otter Rd to Pineview Drive.

The lowest was $914,446.44. That was still about 34% above the official estimate. SDDOT official Sam Weisgram asked the commission to reject.

“We don’t feel we can justify these prices at this time,” Weisgram said. Sturgis officials agree with the department’s position, he added.

A more complicated situation was a project rehabilitating slopes along 34 structures in Brule, Davison, McCook, Minnehaha and Lincoln counties.

A-G-E Corporation of Fort Pierre was the only bidder. Its offer of $1,661,361 was 105% above the official $808,756.40 estimate.

A-G-E’s Andy Johnson told the commission the estimate wasn’t realistic for the current market or the difficult work conditions at various sites.

“This project is labor intensive,” he said.

A-G-E’s bid was well below what the going rate is for new structure, according to Johnson.

Said Mike Behm, the department’s director of planning and engineering, “This is one of the first we’ve let (sought bids) for rehab.”

Commissioner Mike Vehle of Mitchell thanked Johnson for coming in to explain A-G-E’s bid. “It gives us a good idea of what the thought process is,” Vehle said.

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