Webster County rejects low bridge bid

Bid for work on 210th Street structure 45 percent higher than estimate

Webster County will try again to find a contractor for a bridge replacement project after the only bid came in 45 percent higher than estimated.

The Board of Supervisors rejected the bid for work on 210th Street west of Paragon Avenue, which becomes Fort Dodge’s 15th Avenue South.

This bid shows that prices for bridge work are likely on the way up, said Webster County Engineer Randy Will.

“It appears the contractors are booked up for the year,” Will said. “I propose we re-let it in May, along with the project around the corner on Paragon Avenue.

“I think what we need to do is provide a more liberal contract period, which will require the road to be closed possibly longer.”

Allowing a more flexible schedule, with the project potentially being finished in 2018, should attract more contractors, Will said.

The engineer’s estimate for the project was $735,420.

The only bid for the plan came in at $1,064,367.60.

The project was let by the Iowa Department of Transportation, since part of its funding comes from Farm to Market funds. At the Feb. 21 letting, six jobs came in with only two or fewer bidders, and several of them were bid more than 20 percent over the estimate, Will said.

In other business, the supervisors approved the first dust control contract of the year with Heffron Services Inc., of Windsor Heights.

Anyone living in the county can hire contractors to provide dust control on the gravel roads. Those contractors apply for a permit from the county each year, and coordinate with county crews.

Will said this company has also received a permit in previous years. Three more companies will likely apply in the coming weeks.