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Lone bid rejected for Willmar, Minn., airport runway project

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 has rejected the lone bid that had been received for an airport runway improvement project. The council voted to advertise for new bids to be opened Sept. 20.

Only one bid was received for sealing and filling about 50,000 linear feet of cracks in the runway, taxiways and other areas around the airport and for reestablishing the grassed runway turf.

The council's Public Works/Safety Committee recommended rejecting the $223,495 bid from Interstate Improvement of Faribault. The engineer's estimate was $190,500.

The project will be funded 70 percent with state money and 30 percent with local funds. The local share is included in the 2012 budget.

Jared Voge, project manager for Bolton and Menk of Willmar, said he talked to other contractors who requested plans and specifications but did not submit bids because they were not confident the work could be completed before the end of the year.

However, Voge and Public Works Director Holly Wilson said state funding would still be assured in 2013 if the contract was approved in 2012.

This time, officials will divide the project into two parts: restoring the turf runway; and crack sealing and filling.

Officials hope that proceeding in this manner will allow the project to be completed by May 20, 2013, and the city would receive better bid prices because contractors specializing in one or the other area can bid as a general contractor.

Christianson asked Voge about the extent of the cracking or if the work was scheduled maintenance.

Voge said the main concern is getting the bids approved before the end of 2012.

He said the Minnesota Department of Transportation evaluated the runway pavement last year as the agency does on most airports. He said there will be no real loss of pavement structure if the project waits over the winter.

"Typically it's good to take a good look and review every year and a maybe a hard look every five years,'' he said.

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