2016-17 Highway 4 St. James project experiences delay
Project to be re-bid in late Spring 2016
MANKATO, Minn. – The contractor bids to reconstruct Highway 4 through St. James came in significantly higher than anticipated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the city of St. James. MnDOT and the city have determined it is beneficial to all to have contractors re-bid on the project in May or June, moving some of the 2016-17 work into 2018.
On February 26 only two contractor bids came in and they were over $18 million and $19 million respectively. MnDOT had estimated the project at about $12.5 million. Areas where the bid was higher than the estimate included the staging of the work and the handling of the contaminated soils.
By rescheduling the bid in May or June, with the option to do some work in 2016 and having the majority of the work in 2017-18, MnDOT and the city hope to do two things. The first, allow a more competitive bidding market as this will be one of the first projects contractors can bid on for 2017 and 2018. Secondly, this will allow contractors more flexibility in staging the work across 2.5 years of construction instead of 2 years. MnDOT will also review opportunities to improve the handling of the contaminated soils.
“The drawback is that the impact to the community of St. James will be longer than we initially planned for,” explained Project Manager Zachary Tess. “We know full well that construction through a business area is a hardship to many, and we will be looking at opportunities to reduce detour lengths with the revised staging.”
“The City was disappointed in the lack of bids for the project and concur with MnDOT that the project should be re‑bid, as we have a fiduciary responsibility to the community to attempt to obtain more competitive bids for the project,” according to Joe McCabe, City Manager.
The federal demonstration grant to construct two mini-roundabouts and back-in-diagonal parking as part of the Highway 4 reconstruction project remains intact with the project being re-bid in 2016. The Accelerated Innovation Deployment grant is for $864,000 and will be applied to the shared cost of the mini-roundabouts replacing signalized Highway 4 intersections with 7th Street and Armstrong Boulevard in downtown St. James.
The Highway 4 project, which extends from south of Watonwan County Fairgrounds to 11th Avenue North, includes utility replacement throughout the project, upgrading sidewalk and pedestrian ramps for safe ADA accessible accommodations, lighting, and intersection and access revisions. More information can be found on the project website at www.mndot.gov/d7/projects/hwy4stjames/.
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To learn more about funding Minnesota’s transportation system, visit Get Connected at www.dot.state.mn.us/getconnected