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Willmar, Minn., airport runway project bid rejected

Runway crack seals at the Willmar Airport have been recommended as part of the regular maintenance on the paved surface. The runway is made up of four sections and it is common for cracks to develop along the joint. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council's Public Works/Safety Committee is recommending the council reject the lone bid received for an airport runway improvement project and instead re-advertise for bids.

Even though multiple contractors had the plans and specifications, only one contractor submitted a bid. Interstate Improvement of Faribault bid $223,497, which was above the engineer's estimate of $190,500.

According to Public Works Director Holly Wilson, the other contractors were called after the Aug. 9 bid opening. They indicated that they were not confident the work could be completed by the November 2012 deadline.

Jared Voge, Bolton and Menk project manager, said contractors told him that their schedules were full for the remainder of the year and they were not 100 percent convinced they could complete the project on time.

The council had approved plans and specifications July 16 and authorized city staff to advertise for bids from contractors to crack-seal the runway and to reseed portions of the cross-wind grassed runway.

City staff said crack sealing is needed to maintain the runway. The Minnesota Department of Transportation inspected the runway last year and said the work was needed. The airport opened in 2006.

Voge said re-advertisement of bids, pending City Council approval next week, will extend that completion date to 2013. The extension would give contractors an opportunity to do the work this year or next year or a combination of both.

The project is funded 70 percent by the state and 30 percent locally. In order to use state funds, Wilson said, the project must be under contract in 2012, although construction can be completed in 2013.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150