Thanks to lower-than-expected bids, Sibley County commissioners were able to unanimously approve improvement projects that will replace a timber bridge with concrete box culvert and protect the county’s investment in its roads this summer.
At its March 28 meeting, the county board awarded a bid to Landwehr Construction for replacing a timber structure bridge along County Road 6 (Scenic Byway Road). The bridge is about one-third of a mile north of County Road 6’s intersection with County Road 12 north of Henderson in Jessenland Township. Landwehr Construction’s bid of $249,929.60 was the lowest of the five bids the county received for the project. It was 15 percent below the engineer’s estimate.
The timber structure bridge dates back to the early-1960s, said Tim Becker, director of Sibley County Public Works. It serves about 1,000 vehicles a day. The project should begin in early-July. The bridge should be closed up to two weeks, Becker said.
The board also approved a seal coating contract with Astech Corp. of St. Cloud. The contract is for bituminous seal coating of sections of county roads to preserve their lifespan.
Astech was one of five companies that bid on the project. The amount of the bids ranged from Astech Corp.’s $608,760.45 to $837,315.52. Astech’s bid was 22 percent below the engineer’s estimate.
Astech Corp. has won the county contract three times in the past five to seven years, Becker told commissioners. “They do pretty good work,” he said.
Commissioner Bill Pinske of Arlington questioned whether the bids are really a good deal for the county or if engineer’s estimates are set too high. Becker said he sets budgets for projects “middle of the road” rather than “bare bones” to make sure projects are not under-funded.
“I guess it’s better than the other way,” Pinske said.
County Administrator Roxy Traxler said contractors are bidding competitively to keep their crews busy during the coming season.