Franklin County has hired Cochran Engineering based in Union for its on-call engineering services.

The engineering firm, which is already used extensively by the county for road, bridge and other construction projects, including the county jail project, will be paid on graduated lump sum scales depending on the sizes and scopes of the projects.

Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said Cochran will be the “engineer of record” for the county.

In addition to using Cochran in the past, much of the county’s engineering needs were filled by former Highway Administrator Ron Williams, who retired in April.

“There will be some savings,” Brinker said. “This move will also give the county the benefits of a large firm that knows all aspects and has the assets to perform expeditiously.”

According to county documents, Cochran’s percentage average complexity projects will depend on the overall cost of the projects ranging from 16 percent for projects up to $50,000 to 10 percent for projects in the $500,000 to $1 million range.

For projects of above-average complexity, the percentages increase slightly, but are still on a graduated scale.

There will also be hourly rates applied to about 10 specific, specialized employees, including architects, engineers and surveyors.

In 2019, the county paid Cochran Engineering just over $53,000 for engineering and design contractual services.

Franklin County received proposals for the on-call engineering and consulting services. Proposals were received from Maplewood-based IMEG Corporation, Cochran Engineering, Heneghan and Associates, based in Jerseyville, Ill., and CDG Engineers in St. Louis.  

The Lochmueller Group based in St. Peters also submitted a proposal. The county has worked extensively with Lochmueller Group in recent years as part of the Highway 47 Corridor study and redesign.

Highway Projects

Current Highway Administrator Jim Grutsch, who has been with the county since January, says Cochran will fill in on an as-needed basis.

He added the highway department is moving forward with all of the road and bridge projects which were budgeted for 2020.

In recent weeks the county commission delayed some equipment purchases for the department due to effects of COVID-19 on county sales tax revenue.

With positive news of April sales taxes Grutsch said the department will move forward but has looked at possible cuts of about 5 percent if deemed necessary.