2/28/2013 11:13:00 AM Hwy. 52 project bids come in low
by Ken Haggerty
MnDOT officials were pleasantly surprised when bids for a new overpass, ramps and the associated frontage road work along Hwy. 52 on the south side of Cannon Falls came in well below MnDOT estimates.
Initial bids were reviewed on Friday, February 22. Jeff Bunch, MnDOT project engineer out of Rochester, said the numbers were "shocking; a great bid. We had eight bids, which made for very good competition."
Bunch said they estimated the construction part of the project at $20.9 million. Actual bids received range from $15.2 to $19.2 million, with two bids resolving paperwork filing issues and still to be posted by the State. If cleared, the low bid would be even lower, $14.3 million by Hentges and Sons, who have done the recent Cannon Falls street projects.
Bunch said they typically take about six weeks to review bids before formally awarding them. He also noted that there are other costs, like right-of-way purchases and utility relocation, that still need to be resolved that are outside of the construction bid. With all costs, the project has been estimated at about $26 million. Goodhue County is kicking in $4 million and the city of Cannon Falls $1.5 million. Both stoplights on Hwy. 52 will be removed and many current access points to Hwy. 52 will be closed.
There just aren't as many big earth moving jobs available and this project was one of the first in the State to ask for bids, which Bunch said probably contributed to the low bids. He thinks there is some anticipation that asphalt costs may be lower this year, as well.
The project is scheduled to start in July and continue through 2014. Bunch said about 22 of 50 targeted right-of-way agreements are in place. Work could start earlier if right-of-way and construction contracts are all in order, said Bunch.
Bidding, from lowest to highest, were Hoffman Construction, Mathiowetz Construction, Ames Construction, RJS/CJS (JV), C.S. McCrossan, Park Construction. Hentges & Sons and C.J. Moyna were the two listed with a missing form.
Cannon Falls city administrator Aaron Reeves said with the apparent savings, the city will now push MnDOT to include the second overpass, near the sight of the northern stoplights, that was included in the original plans for the project, but has been pulled out of the current project.