MOUNT VERNON — In a county with as many waterways and gullies as Knox County, the work of maintaining its bridges is continuous. This year’s round of bridge work officially kicked off with the opening of bids by the Knox County Commissioners on Thursday morning at the county building. This initial batch of six bridges, all receiving work funded by bonds through the Ohio Public Works Commission, received bids from several construction companies, with a wide range of quotes.
First up was county bridge No. 104 on Montgomery Road in Morris Township. U.S. Bridge was the only company to bid on this substantial project, bidding $381,626. This fell below the engineering estimate of $497,508, according to Knox County Engineer Jim Henry. The project is expected to proceed as planned.
Bridge No. 27 on Vance Road in Miller Township received the attention of three bidders. U.S. Bridge of Cambridge bid $79,800, McConnell Contracting of West Lafayette bid $66,850 and V.O. Menuez of Millersburg bid $118,088. All fell below the engineering estimate of $162,618.
The engineering estimate proved more difficult to beat on bridge No. 20, on Jelloway Road in Jefferson Township. Henry said that the estimate was $56,623, which none of the four bidders met, though McConnell Contracting just missed it with a bid of $59,750. Henry said that he would check with the county prosecutor to see if there was any leeway for allowing a close quote to count so that the entire Jelloway Road bridge job doesn’t have to be rebid. Other bidders included V.O. Menuez at $99,062, Buds Inc. of Nashport, and Crawford Construction of Galion at $69,000.
Bridge No. 181 on McLarnan Road in Clay Township received three bids: V.O. Menuez at $87,961, McConnell Contracting at $58,371 and U.S. Bridge at $74,512. The engineering estimate was $150,018. All the bids for bridge No. 8, on Dunham Road in Liberty Township, fell well under the $186,218 engineering estimate. V.O. Menuez bid $132,175, U.S. Bridge bid $83,950 and McConnell Contracting bid $68,640.
None of the bids submitted for bridge No. 7, on Chapel Road in Jefferson Township, met the engineering estimate of $56,623, and will presumably have to be bid again. The unsuccessful bidders were McConnell at $62,000, Crawford at $67,000, Buds at $79,405 and V.O. Menuez at $99,062.
Several of the bidding companies had representatives present. Henry advised them that 14 more bridges will come up for bid before May. These bridges will be part of the Just Build pilot program being run by the Ohio Department of Transportation. The program, developed by Henry and other county engineers, simplifies the approach to designing and building bridges by identifying the load limit, dimensions and spans, and using standard drawings and design footprints while guaranteeing no in-stream work will be necessary. This allows potential bidders to submit a generic design instead of designing a new structure from scratch, thus saving a lot of time and money.