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City awards bids for road projects

BEMIDJI — The city selected from competing building contractors and design firms to award bids for several high-dollar road and infrastructure construction projects at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of aid money and tax revenue will be spent on projects that include utilities improvements to Lake Avenue, Irvine Avenue and Thirtieth Street. The council choose Reierson Construction for the Lake Avenue renovations despite some issues with work they did for the city last year.

A new street surface, sewers and water main line for portions of Lake from Roosevelt Road to First Street are just the latest round in the city’s yearly Street Improvement Project, which selects one portion of Bemidji’s streets to improve each year.

City Engineer Craig Gray recommended Reierson Construction for the 2014 improvements, although he told council members the company completed last year’s street improvement fixes nearly a month late and thus paid $13,000 in damages to the city.

“I told them I did have concerns from last year,” Gray told the council. “They assured me that they had those issues addressed; they’re using a different subcontractor this year for their paving part (of the project), which is, according to them, what caused the problems last year.”

Gray also said the amount Reierson would pay if they went past deadline was going up from $500 a day to $1,200.

Gray said he did not anticipate any issues with the project.

Reierson’s winning bid was $646,000; the lowest entered. The cost of the entire Lake Avenue project is $750,000, including auxiliary costs.

Assessments to property owners will remain the same as what were disclosed at public hearing, $38 per front foot, Gray said. Any property receiving a new utility line will be charged $1,070 for each line that is received.

Redevelopment for Twenty-third Street is part of the same street improvement project but will undergo a separate bidding process.

Next up was picking a firm to do design work for the Irvine Avenue fixes, which are expected to cost more than $1 million and will include new streets, sanitary sewers and water mains on portions of the street from Highway 197 to Thirtieth Street.

Thirtieth Street also will see surface renovations from Irvine Avenue to Ridgeway Avenue.

The council choose Karvakko Engineering, with a bid of $73,000, for design services. The firm had representatives present at the meeting.  

Gray said the city will be receiving nearly $800,000 of federal highway aid money in 2015 for the project, which is expected to begin in May 2015 and be completed by October.