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All 3 bridge project bids well below estimate

When the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced June 4 that the team of Lunda/Ames would be the apparent contractor for the new Highway 61 bridge, Mn/Dot officials were somewhat surprised by the low bid. So were many others. Still the cost savings are in line with what Man/DOT is seeing for other projects this year.

"From what I've been told, the cost savings we're seeing on the Hastings bridge project are pretty much in line with what we are seeing on other large projects," said Mn/DOT public affairs coordinators J.P. Gillach. "The prices we're seeing are likely the result of a combination of things, including the competitive marketplace and the efficiencies of a large design-build project."

The Lunda/Ames team scored 93.22 out of a possible 100 points on its technical proposal, with a best value bid of $119,830,890, well below the $220-million cap Mn/DOT set for the project scheduled to begin this fall.

All three potential contractors submitted lower-than-expected cost bids according to a Mn/DOT summary sheet.

FlatIron/Kiewit had a technical score of 94.29, with a cost bid of $159,359,000;and PCL/Kraemer had a technical score of 87.11, with a cost bid of $134,149,000.

Project manager Steve Kordosky had said the bids were very competitive.

The final contract for the project is expected to be approved after July 4. At that time, the design for the bridge -- cable or arch -- will also be revealed.

The Lunda Construction Co., founded in 1938, saw its largest growth starting in 1956 with the Interstate Highway Program.

The heavy highway division deals primarily with bridge construction, pile driving, railroad bridges and miscellaneous concrete work.

Ames Construction Inc. began operations in 1960 in Burnsville. As one of the country's largest heavy civil and industrial design-build general contractors, it serves clients in many industries.

The best-value bid is a combination of the technical scores and the design/build (cable or arch bridge design) costs. When the bid packages were submitted to MnDOT, officials made their technical evaluation first.

Updates on the bridge project will continue to be posted on MnDOT's website.