The Kendall County Board recently voted unanimously to approve contracts with D Construction of Coal City for several upcoming highway construction projects in the county, and the county’s chief highway officials said taxpayers saved a chunk of change.
During a discussion at the June 19 County Board meeting, Fran Klaas, county engineer, noted that the company’s bids were $700,000 less than the engineer’s estimated cost. Klaas said that money will be used for other highway projects in the county’s multi-year plan.
During the discussion, board member Audra Hendrix asked how a company could submit a bid that much lower than competitors, but still guarantee a quality product.
Klaas explained that when a company such as D Construction bids much lower than the competition, they are trying to get an edge on the competition. He said they also are able to offer lower bids because they have a quarry and an asphalt plant in Kendall County.
“This was an amazing bid ... substantially below what we expected,” he said.
“But they are protecting their area and they don’t want any contractor who’s out of the county coming in and building a project right under their nose. I think that’s one of the main reasons they bid so low.”
Regarding the quality of the roads being built, Klaas said all the roads are built to certain specifications outlined by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
“All of these contractors are bidding to a particular specification,” Klaas said. “So all of the road and bridge construction will be governed by what we call the standards and specifications for road and bridge construction in Illinois, which is put out by the Illinois Department of Transportation. So all of the materials and methods will be tested – density tests, material tests, aggregate tests. All of those tests will be performed regardless of who the low bidder was.”
He added, “It’s a very low bid, but we’re comfortable in the fact that they’ll build a quality product.”
The largest project approved for a contract was the reconstruction of a portion of Grove Road between Route 52 and Sherrill Road, at a cost of $4,281,192.66. County officials estimated that project’s cost at $5 million in the county’s five-year highway transportation program. The project will be paid for using county transportation sales tax revenue, according to the highway program.
According to the Highway Department, Grove Road between Route 52 and Sherrill Road will be closed intermittently starting this month through July 2019 to allow completion of the project.
The board also approved the contracts with D Construction for the following projects:
• Cannonball Trail between the BNSF railroad and Galena Road, for $111,365,07.
• Brisbin Road between Route 52 and Chicago Road, for $166,425.25.
• Whitfield Road between Rogers and Millhurst roads, for $78,767.
Klaas has said that work on Cannonball will not begin until the Galena Road bridge is completed and Cannonball Trail is no longer being used as a detour around that project.