By Ed Pruneau

Missourian Managing Editor

Bids were opened last week for the long-awaited Highway A improvement project and all are far below the initial projected cost.

The 2014-18 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) has $3,965,000 allocated for construction of the Highway A project. That amount does not include the cost of engineering and design work.

Construction bids were opened Friday and N.B. West Contracting Company was the apparent low bidder at $2,408,357.26, Judy Wagner, MoDOT area engineer, said Monday.

There were five bidders on the project and all the bids were very close, Wagner told members of the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee.

If the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission votes next week to accept the bid from West, work on the project could begin in April, Wagner said.

She said it’s likely it will take two construction seasons to complete all the work on the 7.23-mile stretch of roadway.

The project will be divided into two phases. The first segment will be from Union, just north of the Independence Drive intersection, to Highway YY. The second will be from Route YY to the Washington city limits.

“This will involve a lot of utility (relocation) work,” Wagner said. “Hopefully, we can finish up in two years.”

The plan is to construct 2-foot shoulders, resurface the highway from Chamber Drive at Washington to just north of Independence Drive in Union and make other safety improvements, including adding guardrails in certain areas and improved stormwater drainage facilities.

Speed Signs

Wagner said Monday that the decision has been made to add interactive speed limit signs south and west of Highway YY at Krakow. The signs will show the speed limit and below that will be an indicator that displays an approaching vehicle’s actual speed.

The purpose is to alert drivers to slow down as they approach the intersection, which is highly congested at times.

The signs likely will be installed near the end of the project, Wagner said.

Other Bidders

Other companies that submitted bids on the projects and their price quotes were:

Pace Construction Company LLC, $2,587,500; K.J. Unnerstall Construction, $2,957,808; APAC-Missouri Inc., $3,039,370.33; and Millstone Bangert Inc., $3,059,748.37,

The current 11-foot-wide driving lanes will be maintained but resurfaced and the shoulders will be added. There are three areas along the route where curves will be improved.

No changes are planned at the Highway A/Route YY intersection at this time.

State and local officials have been pushing for improvements along the highway for many years.