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DOT scrutinizes bid prices for Pierre, Rapid City work

PIERRE -- The state Transportation Commission rejected the low bids as much too high on a set of Rapid City projects Thursday and delayed a decision until next month on the low bid for the new multi-lane business route for Pierre’s northeast side.

Morris Inc. of Fort Pierre submitted a bid of $6,115,937.62 for the Pierre project that state engineers estimated would cost $4,584,456.75. The other bidder, A-G-E Corporation, submitted a price of $6,662,123.97.

State Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said the city government of Pierre is participating financially in the project and municipal officials need time to review the Morris bid.

The project would expand the truck bypass route to four lanes between the Fourth Street intersection and U.S. 14. Business and residential developments are under way in the open areas adjacent to the northern segment of the route.

Mark Morris spoke to the state commission Thursday. He explained there is a combination of reasons for the company’s bid being higher than DOT’s estimate.

Morris listed a $8,000 daily penalty if the project isn’t completed between June 2 and Aug. 29, rising prices for the type of oil needed for the high-quality asphalt mix, paving to be done in stages, bringing in a traffic control subcontractor from outside the area and overtime.

He said the project will require crews working six days per week “dusk to dawn” and the city must first get water and sewer mains installed.

“Obviously, it’s a job we’re interested in,” Morris said.

Bergquist said he will bring back a recommendation to the state commission at its April 10 meeting after he has conferred with city officials.

Meanwhile, the Rapid City project bids rejected Thursday were for the U.S.16 renovations and upgrades on the city’s south side

Heavy Constructors Inc. of Rapid City submitted the low bids for the two related projects. DOT’s estimates were $6,529,655.55 and $1,319,347.50. Heavy Constructors bids were $9,476,394.50 and $1,762,212.01.

Upper Plains Contracting was next lowest with bids of $10,634,156.09 and $2,511,617.51. The third set of bids came from Stanley Johnsen Concrete Contractor at $10,703,973.91 and $2,551,439.70.

DOT official Brace Prouty said the Rapid City projects’ plans and bid-letting schedule will be analyzed. He said his guess is that this fall would be the earliest the projects would go to bid again.

In other action, the commission:

Approved adding the $685,000 purchase of a temporary panel- bridge structure that can be used on projects, with the expense gradually repaid from federal highway aid. The first project will be crossing the Maple River along U.S. 281. DOT already has two others;

Pushed back to 2015 a scour-protection project on S.D. 63 over the Grand River north of McLaughlin to provide more time for property acquisition;

Approved adding $550,000 to the 2014 state plan for safety-improvement projects along two curves on US 14A in Lawrence County and one curve on I-229 at Sioux Falls;

Added $510,000 to the 2014 plan to remove and replace concrete pavement at the Sisseton port of entry along I 29 so the weigh-in-motion sensors work better; and

Approved proceeding with condemnation involving seven lots and four property owners for a Meade County service road project.