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Vernon bid approved

Published 11:43am Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rising construction prices have made bidding for local construction projects a bit tougher lately.

The Fergus Falls City Council approved a bid for the street project in the area of Vernon Avenue and Court Street. The contract was awarded to Mark & Brenda Construction (DBA Delzer Construction) for $744,387.51. It was the only bid received, and it came in well above the engineer’s estimate of $560,000.

The council didn’t take action on the bid at its Aug. 5 meeting, so city staff and Moore Engineering could re-evaluate the bid. After a comprehensive review of the bid and estimate, the lone bid was recommended. The bid was uniformly higher, showing that the whole bid market is going up, according to City Engineer Dan Edwards. They believe the bid is a fair price, given the market conditions, Edwards said.

The estimate was based on construction work early in the 2013 season, but since then, construction “contract prices have been steadily escalating,” Edwards said.

Another reason is because three to four weeks of the construction season were lost earlier this year due to weather. That limits the bidders and increases prices, because sub-contracctors are also tied up with work, according to Edwards. There’s also been a lot of MnDOT work this year, resulting in a lot of competition.

“So it’s getting harder for smaller jobs,” Edwards said.

Even with the bid for the Vernon project being above the estimate, there are sufficient local and state funds available to cover the extra cost.

Plans for the project include replacing the water main on Vernon Avenue from Court Street to Cascade Street, along with pavement replacement on Vernon from Court through the Cascade intersection, and replacing the sanitary sewer from Court to Mill Street. The underground work and the first layer of bituminous work will be done this fall. The final bituminous would go on next construction season as planned.

“We haven’t delayed anything,” Edwards said. “Everything is still the same.”

A specific start date hasn’t been set for the Vernon Avenue project, but Monday Edwards said it would probably be in two to three weeks. Materials need to be ordered and traffic control arrangements need to be made.

The city will revisit how to do these projects next year, Edwards said.

Also Monday, the council approved a resolution to reject the bid submitted for the aeration piping replacement project at the Fergus Falls Wastewater Treatment Facility. One bid was submitted, and it was substantially greater than what was anticipated for the project budget.

City staff and a consultant recommended rejecting the bid and re-advertising for bids during the next construction season.

“We are revisiting this project,” said Public Works Director Anne Martens. “It’s not a vital project. It’s a preventative maintenance project.”

Martens recommended that due to the construction season, minimal maintenance work should be done before re-advertising for bids next construction season.

  • The Vikingman

    Hopefully they will be required to finish one project (Vasa, Alcott, Bancroft, etc) before starting up the next one!

    • user1

      Black top went in yesterday if you missed that?

      • The Vikingman

        Not on all of it. Still got a few streets to go.

        • Steph

          And only a year overdue! Good job guys. *extreme sarcasm*

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