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Saturday, July 7th, 2018

County OKs $1.3 million in roadwork

Bid $115K over budget

By William Kincaid
CELINA - Mercer County commissioners this week awarded a $1.38 million contract for an extensive road-resurfacing project even though the sole bid came in $115,000 over the original estimate.
County engineer Jim Wiechart recommended commissioners sign off on the contract rather than rebid the project and possibly see even higher bids due to rising prices of crude oil from which asphalt is derived.
Commissioners Greg Homan, Jerry Laffin and Rick Muhlenkamp, at Wiechart's recommendation, moved to accept a bid of $1.38 million from the Shelly Co. of Findlay to resurface roughly 20 miles of roads. Wiechart had estimated the project to cost $1.27 million.
County officials plan to finance the resurfacing with a mix of Ohio Public Works Commission and county road and bridge funds. Some townships also will be billed for work done within their boundaries.
Wiechart attributed the higher-than-anticipated bid, which includes material and labor costs for applying asphalt concrete on township and county roads, to an uptick in oil prices over the last several months.
"We considered recommending a rejection of the bid, but we believe that if we would have rebid we would have been again left with only one bidder and with the price of oil escalating over the last several months it was our opinion that the costs could have further escalated a second time," Wiechart told the newspaper.
Moreover, Wiechart said he doubted the county would have attracted more bids next spring had officials postponed the project until then.
"Also, some of the state OPWC funding that is part of this package has some deadlines associated with it," Wiechart said.
Wiechart said he wasn't surprised that the Shelly Co. was the lone bidder.
"For asphalt resurfacing Shelly Co. owns many of the quarries' hot-mix plants in the area," Wiechart said. "We would love to see more bidders, but for many years this type of work we have had - majority of times - only one bidder."
Another federally funded resurfacing project let out for bid by county officials earlier this year involving asphaltic concrete paving on Burkettsville-St. Henry Road, Howick and Tama roads also garnered just one proposal - The Shelly Co.'s aggregate bid of $2.79 million. The bid came in over Wiechart's estimate of $2.583 million but under the 10 percent rebidding threshold.
"Also the last several years we have had only one bidder for this crucial work type," Wiechart said.
The project entails resurfacing 19 miles of road - St. Peter Road from State Route 219 to Menchhofer Road, Fairground Road from State Route 118 to the Celina corporation limits, (C21B) Wabash Road from Menchhofer Road to State Route 219, (C31A) Wabash Road from Menchhofer Road to State Route 29, (C100) Menchhofer Road from Rauh Road to St. Peter Road, Siegrist-Jutte Road from Township Line to Burkettsville-St. Henry Road, St. Peter Road from Sharpsburg Road to Fort Recovery-Minster Road, Fox Road from Union City Road to State Route 49, Carthagena Road from Township Line to Wessel Road, Township Line Road from Carmel Church Road to Hone-Weir Road, St. Johns Road from Indian Trail Road to Huwer Road, Indian Trail Road from State Route 716 to St. Johns Road, Bergman Road from Schemmel Road to Indian Trail, Burrville Road from Fort Recovery-Minster Road to State Route 119 and State Line Road from Gravel Pit Road to State Route 119.
Roads were targeted based on condition and funding opportunities.
Work is expected to start in the next few weeks and stretch through late September, Wiechart said, noting limited intermittent closings are anticipated.
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