A project to replace two small, but important, rural bridges is among five projects included in a special bid letting conducted by the West Virginia Division of Highways on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. West Virginia Division of Highways continues to hold bid lettings remotely to more projects forward while protecting the public from COVID-19.
The special bid letting includes replacing the Crawford Bottom Bridge in Kanawha County and the Laurel Creek Bridge in Clay County. Both projects are paid for with money from Gov. Jim Justice’s $2.8 billion Roads to Prosperity highway construction and maintenance program.
“Without Gov. Justice’s Roads to Prosperity program, it would be a long time before we could find funding for these bridges,” said WVDOH State Bridge Engineer Tracy Brown. “Roads to Prosperity has allowed us to accelerate replacing these older bridges.”
The Laurel Creek Bridge is off WV 4 in Clay County. The structure was built in 1924, and was damaged by flooding in 2016. Brown said closing the bridge would require residents served by the bridge to make a seven-mile detour on a one-lane road.
The Crawford Bottom Bridge is off Cabin Creek Road in Kanawha County, and provides the only access in and out for about nine homes.
“There’s no other way in or out,” Brown said. “If it weren’t for that bridge, residents would have to wade the creek and park on the side of the road.”
Weight limit on the span was recently lowered to 10 tons.
When the Division of Highways has a project that is determined to be best constructed by a contractor, it is processed through the bid letting system. A letting is a scheduled opportunity for contractors to review and bid on several construction projects at one time. Lettings are held either once or twice per month and conducted through the Bid Express System online at wwwbidx.comand handled through the Contract Administration Division. Contractors need to subscribe to Bid Express before bids can be accepted on any project.
As the date and time approaches for the deadline of the letting, contractors are expected to place their bids, with complete documentation as necessary. Shortly after the letting, the projects with the each of the respective bids are reviewed. All bids are evaluated thoroughly for competitiveness and deemed acceptable through guidelines as approved by policy, reviewed and approved by the FHWA. Award of the contracts is made based on recommendation by our Awards Committee based on the results that evaluation and approval by the Commissioner. Projects are typically awarded to the lowest bidder which has all proper documentation in place.
The West Virginia Division of Highways is reviewing the bids and hopes to award contracts for these projects soon. Several factors are considered before awarding a bid, including whether a bid falls above or below the WVDOH Engineer’s Estimate and by what percentage. In cases where a bid is above the Engineer’s Estimate, WVDOH must consider the project need, repercussions of not awarding the project, additional funding sources and whether or not sufficient reasons exist for the differences in estimates. Most projects are reviewed, analyzed and awarded within a week of the bid letting, but the process can take longer.
Other projects which received bids in this letting are:
-Western Wayne debris removal.
-Northern Wayne debris removal.
-Northern Cabell debris removal.