City plans more roads projects, several bids come in under estimated cost

The city will have roughly $825,000 in extra funds after bids for several road projects came in lower than the engineer’s estimates.

At Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting, the council heard from Public Works officials on the projects.

Bruce Campbell, assistant city engineer, said three project bids came in well below cost.

The lowest of four bids on the South Third Avenue rebuild slated to get underway as soon as school lets out was $54,000 under estimate, and the lower of two bids on another project – this one to replace sidewalk ramps to comply with Americans With Disabilities Act standards – came in $196,000 below cost.

Additionally, although the city had only one bid on mill and overlay courses, it came in $572,000 under the estimate.

“We saved quite a bit of money there,” he said. “We are looking pretty good.”

The South Third Avenue rebuild will cost nearly $380,000; the mill and overlay came in at nearly $3.7 million, and the sidewalk ramp replacement will cost almost $540,000.

The sidewalk bid came in lower than expected because the contractor, Con-Struct Inc., was able to get truncated domes used for the upgrade at roughly half the cost. Con-Struct was also the low bidder on the Third Avenue rebuild. The mill and overlay cost saw slack because of low prices from the oil supplier of that contractor, Cessford Construction.

Campbell said the Public Works Department is waiting on street data from Ames before it decides how to spend the leftover money. The city has not had street data since 2010, so it first needs to look at that data to assess which roads need treatment.

“We just kind of want to see where some of those other streets are at before we just say ‘go ahead and do these,'” Campbell said. “Make sure we are putting the money where it needs to be.”

Randy Wetmore, city administrator, said barring a huge change order, the money will be available for additional street repairs.

More bids came in for crack sealing and microsurfacing. Those bids were just shy of $173,000, from Denco Highway Construction Company, out of Mingo, and $180,000, from Sta-Bilt Construction Company, out of Harlan, respectively. Sta-Bilt is also contracted to do spill-over microsurfacing the city was unable to complete last year.

Campbell said both of those companies are eager to get started, and the city aims to get both the projects done this summer. The Public Works Department will call the companies Tuesday to put the wheels in motion, he said.

A $36,000 replacement of a bridge on East Main Street will take about three weeks, during which the bridge will be closed with a detour posted.

Finally, Lynn Couch, Public Works director, said problems with raccoons at the airport necessitate the city taking advantage of a grant to lay concrete on the floor of one its hangars. State money would fund 85 percent of the $88,000 project. The local share of that work is just over $13,000.

In response to an inquiry from Marla Grabenbauer, third-ward council member, Couch said the airport pays the city $2,000 a month to lease the space and that the city also charges aircrafts that fuel up there a flow fee, generating revenue for the city.