When it comes to bidding out a significant road or bridge project, the hope is that bids will come in under engineer’s estimate, but, with many projects, it’s a wait-and-see approach where you hope for the best, but have no assurances.
At the April 20 meeting of the Wright County Board of Commissioners, one of the agenda items was awarding the low bid for the Co. Rd. 118 (Fenning Avenue) reconstruction project in Monticello. The bidding process showed just how competitive the bidding is for projects, as all bids received came in significantly under the engineer’s estimate.
Of the five bids that were received, all were more than 13 percent under the $6.02 million engineer’s estimate – the winning bid of $4.75 million from Duininck Inc. (21.13 percent under), Landwehr Construction at $4.91 million (18.48 percent under), Knife River at $4.96 million (17.62 percent under), Meyer Contracting Inc. at $5.231 million (13.12 percent under) and New Look Contracting Inc. at $5.233 million (13.08 percent under).
“They were very competitive bids,” Wright County Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins said. “We’ve been seeing really good bids on the highway projects we’ve received recently. During the pandemic, highway work – not only at the county level, but all agencies – the work has continued and it has kept people working. I think that has helped make the bidding so competitive.”
Hawkins said one of the major components at the north end of the project will be the construction of a roundabout to help improve safety and traffic flow.
“The traffic control at the current intersection is a four-way stop,” Hawkins said. “It’s the CSAH 18 (Jason Avenue/School Boulevard and County Road 118 (Fenning Avenue) intersection. It’s going to be converted into a full-sized roundabout with lighting. The overall work will provide other safety improvements that include a separated paved trail funded by the city, shoulder widening, pavement markings and turn lanes at the major intersections as well as the roundabout.”
The Highway Department will be scheduling a pre-construction meeting with Duininck Inc., at which point the project schedule will be finalized. Construction is expected to start in mid-May and the completion date of late-October.
The roundabout construction at the north end of the project is a focal point of the project, but it will also include approximately two miles of rural road reconstruction south of the roundabout on Co. Rd. 118 to where it meets CSAH 37.
There are expected to be multiple stages of traffic control with this project and there will be partial closures at the intersection where the roundabout will be built. There will be a full closure of the highway south of the roundabout intersection and a signed detour route will be in place. Local traffic and emergency vehicles will be provided access through the work zone by the contractor. There will be a lot of signage and message boards posted at the time of closures/detours during the project. The Wright County Highway Department will be providing updates and timelines as the project gets closer to beginning of the work.
To see an overview of the project, click here: https://cr118-wsbeng.hub.arcgis.com/pages/design.
The project funding has come from Local Option Sales Tax funding