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County Board accepts bid for Dakota Trail, change order to reduce costs

The McLeod County Board of Commissioners approved a construction bid for a portion of the Dakota Trail at its Tuesday morning meeting, contingent on its also passing a change order designed to reduce the cost.
John Brunkhorst, public works director, said the county had received four bids for the project, which would include the reconstruction and paving of the trail between McLeod County Road 1 and the Carver County line.
Unfortunately, all of those bids were higher than the state grant amount that was awarded for the project. The lowest bid was $718,151 from Structural Specialties in Hutchinson. The county had obtained a Legacy grant of $647,000 to fund the project.
Brunkhorst said the public works department then worked with the contractor to reduce the cost by $115,483 to $602,688, which leave about $18,764 for unexpected costs, or which could be applied to the bridge engineering fees if it’s not needed for a contingency.
Among the changes to reduce costs were a reduction in the lighting, a reduction in the amounts of Class 5 base and top soil, and changing the cost for turf establishment from a lump sum amount to a cost per square yardage.
Brunkhorst said he is comfortable that the contractor would not need to excavate the railroad bed as deeply as anticipated, the saving the cost of some Class 5 gravel.
Commissioner Doug Krueger said he was “disappointed” with the fact that the project could be pared back now. When it was first proposed, Krueger contended, it was presented as “bare bones” project with no room to cut.
He also expressed concern that scaling back on the excavation and base establishment could end up costing the county more for maintenance in the future.
The board voted 4-1 to approve the bid with Structural Specialties for the construction contingent on also passing the change order. The board also voted 4-1 to approve the change order. Krueger voted against both motions.