Bids below estimates for county intersection work

by Paul Rignell

Contributing writer

The Sherburne County Board has approved a low bid for rural intersection work that is scheduled for completion by late June.

As part of the annual Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), with projects funded mostly through federal dollars, Sherburne County will add a right-turn lane on County Road 38 for traffic going north onto County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 19 in Baldwin Township and left-turn lanes on CSAH 4 for traffic heading north or south at CSAH 19 in Livonia Township.

Work is scheduled to begin no earlier than Memorial Day weekend. The county board awarded the road contract to North Valley, of Elk River, for its bid of $408,419.71. Two other competing firms submitted higher bids, but both were within about $30,000.

Each of the bids came in below engineering estimates for the work, based on average actual costs for similar work completed at two other county intersections in 2012. Commissioner John Riebel asked county staff April 16 how it was possible for all bids to fall under the estimates. “Our contractors are very hungry, wanting work out there. We’re very fortunate,” County Engineer Rhonda Lewis said at the board meeting.

The county owes a 10-percent match on these HSIP projects, and Lewis told the Star News that the local share of about $40,800 in 2013 will be covered by savings which have been realized on other road projects where winning bids beat out budgeted estimates.

Speed study approved

Commissioners authorized a request for the Minnesota Department of Transportation to conduct a speed study on CSAH 13, or Twin Lakes Road. The county is asking MnDOT to review traffic patterns on the road from CSAH 12 in Elk River to Anoka County Road 70, which covers about five miles and where the posted limit is 55 mph for most of the way.

Lewis said county staff proceeded to ask the board’s permission for contacting MnDOT after receiving concerns from area residents. She told the Star News that it is almost certain the state agency will agree to the study, which probably would happen in about two months.