Bids opened on fixing storm-damaged Arkansas roads; costs near $8 million for four projects

Repairs to sections of four state highways in Northwest Arkansas damaged by flooding in late 2015 and early 2016 will cost about $8 million, according to low bids the Arkansas Department of Transportation opened for the projects Wednesday.

The projects are aimed at fixing sections of Arkansas 23 in Franklin and Madison counties, Arkansas 59 in Washington and Crawford counties, and Arkansas 74 and Arkansas 7 in Newton County.

The projects are being financed mainly from federal emergency relief funds the department received to "repair damage on its highway system caused by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding in the state beginning December 23, 2015, and continuing through January 22, 2016," according to the agency.

"Flooding caused extensive pavement damage and erosion at many bridge and culvert locations," the agency said. "In addition, the storms triggered shoulder and embankment erosion on numerous highways as well as landslides."

The four projects, called slide repairs by the agency, involve specialized work to fix damage caused by shoulder and embankment erosion and landslides and which the department has had difficulty securing competitive bids.

After the low bids are submitted and opened, agency officials review them for accuracy and compare the bid amounts to engineering estimates before the bids are approved, which can take several days.

In August, the agency rejected a low bid totaling more than $1.6 million on the Arkansas 74 project.

The low bid on the project the department received Wednesday was for $737,684.65 from Crouse Construction Co. of Harrison. Three other contractors submitted bids, the highest being $1,020,221.70.

Arkansas 74 is an east-west route in Newton County going from Bass on the east through Jasper, the county seat, and ending in Ponca on the west. It averages from 500 vehicles a day on the east to 1,200 near Ponca, according to agency data.

The work is on the section between Jasper and Ponca.

The other Newton County project is more than double the cost of the Arkansas 74 project, based on the bids opened Wednesday. The low bid was $1,875,423, also from Crouse.

Crouse's bid was one of nine the department received on the Arkansas 7 project, the highest being $4.8 million.

The latter project involves much bigger quantities of material than the other Newton County project.

For instance, the Arkansas 7 project requires 42,244 cubic yards of excavation and 87,790 tons of rock fill. The quantities for the same items on the Arkansas 74 project are 586 cubic yards of excavation and 574 tons of rock fill.

The other two slide repair projects are in or near the Ozark National Forest, one of which was the most expensive of the four.

That was to repair a slide on a section of Arkansas 59 straddling Crawford and Washington counties. The low bid was $4,331,265.03 from Kesser International Inc. of Little Rock. The highest of the other bids was $8,809,437.77.

Crouse also submitted the low bid on the fourth project, $1,251,062.78, to repair a slide on a section of Arkansas 23 straddling Franklin and Madison counties. Three other contractors submitted bids, the highest being $1,427,124.15.

Metro on 10/12/2017

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