City of Union -- stock

The city of Union is hoping the new year brings better bids for the Christina Avenue bridge realignment project.

Aldermen voted Monday night at the Union personnel, finance and public works committee meeting to reject the two bids for the project. The decision was based on the recommendation of Cochran, the city’s engineering partner for the project.

In a letter to City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann, Cochran said the bids were “not representative of competitive bids” and were too high for the work involved.

The engineer’s estimate for the project was $782,949,75. The low bidder for the project, Kozeny Wagner, Inc. bid was $1,017,169.13.

The other bid, from KCI Construction, came in at $1,019,000.

Cochran characterized the bids as “excessive” since they were more than 10 percent above the projects estimate and over budget. 

“We had hoped for better bids,” Zimmermann said. “In the past we’ve had really good luck bidding in November. This year, not so much.”

Cochran recommended rebidding the work in January and seeing if the outcome is different.

Zimmermann said there were a number of factors for the bids being off. He said the timing may have been off for some bidders.

Another possible reason he said was some bidders were “afraid” of another bidder and chose not to bid for the work.

He said the city was disappointed to only get two bids when it had at least six interested parties. 

“We should have had more bidders,” he said.

Cochran contacted a contractor who picked up information about the project, but who did not submit a bid. The unnamed contractor told Cochran it was more focused on Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) bid letting going on at the same time and did not have time to look at other projects.

The same contractor said they were concerned about the project’s time line.

According to the bid documents, the city had hoped for work on the bridge to start in March. Once work begins, Zimmermann called it a 120 day project.

Zimmermann said he still was hoping to stick to that timetable. By rebidding, he said that will become more of a challenge but he was still planning on sticking to the time line.

The committee voted unanimously to reject the bids and instructed Zimmermann to rebid the work in January. 

Project Background

The project includes the “complete removal and replacement of the bridge” over Flat Creek.

“We’re realigning the roadway to create a better intersection with Water Street,” Union City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said. “The bridge is going to be shifting to the west and, of course, we’re going to replace the bridge.”

The project includes sidewalk improvements. Crews also are working on the sewer in the area.

The project is funded through a federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) grant.

The bridge replacement is an East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGCC) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) project.

It is budgeted at $906,655 with $491,856 being federal dollars and $327,501 being local money, according to the EWGCC 2018-21 fiscal year budget.

The Christina Avenue bridge was built in 1932 and has a sufficiency rating of 46.9 percent.