Contractor maps out Galena plan
October 23, 2006
The apparent low bidder on the I-580 road and bridge project was successful because it determined how to process much of the rock cut during construction into materials to be used nearby.
Even more important, Fisher Sand & Gravel suggested design modifications to the design of a controversial bridge, enabling it to obtain bonding for the project.
Its bid of $393.4 million for completion of the freeway south of Reno including the Galena Creek bridge beat that of the only other bidder, Kiewit Western Co. Kiewit bid $414.8 million.
Tommy Fisher, president of Fisher Sand & Gravel of Dickinson, N.D., is confident the company’s subcontractor can complete the Galena bridge safely and within specifications.
Fisher Sand & Gavel is a 50-year-old aggregate processing company with about 1,000 employees. It works in 14 states.
A key element of the project will be completion of a bridge that was abandoned by Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc. of Plain, Wis. earlier this year over safety issues. Kraemer & Sons questioned the stability of the steel truss for the Galena bridge during erection.
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Several potential bidders withdrew from the competition because they were unable to obtain the necessary bonds.
Fisher isn’t worried about the safety issues raised by Edward Kraemer & Sons. His firm will work with California-based C.C. Meyers a subcontractor who has been pre-qualified by the state to build the bridge.
“It’s a great opportunity for our company to be involved in a project like this. We’re very excited about winning the bid and look forward to working with NDOT and exchanging ideas on how to speed up the job and make it safer,” said Fisher.
If his company is awarded the contract, Fisher said his company and C.C. Meyers will bring their A-teams to the project because it is a difficult job.
“It requires the top people in the company right up to the owners,” he said. “I feel very comfortable Meyers will be able to do the work. They have some ideas that will maximize safety and how to handle it (the wind). We feel we have a safe way to build it on the plans that we bid.”
Susan G. Martinovich, deputy director of Nevada Department of Transportation, said the department does not believe there were safety issues in the original design of the bridge.
“What was mentioned (during the bidding process) was that there are some other ways to construct the bridge with value-engineering proposals that addressed the safety issues,” Martinovich said.
Fisher also proposes to process rock at the job site into construction materials.
“That helped us to keep the bid a little more competitive,” Fisher said.
Fisher’s bid was more than 20 percent over the state engineer’s estimate, creating a shortfall of $76 million. Martinovich speculated rising costs may prompt the state to award the contract and consider the bid overage as part of the cost of doing business.
“We’ve been subject to a lot of inflation costs 20 to 30 percent since the construction stopped and it continues to rise,” she said. If the state rebids the job, it may end up with even higher prices.
Fisher acknowledged those inflationary factors caused concerns for his company and the subcontractors that would work with him.
“Our subcontractors’ costs were fairly high, but that is because the project is four years out and people worry about pricing. There’s a lot of hot mix, and oil prices are up. All the suppliers are building in those possible increases,” said Fisher. He said at least 10 northern Nevada contractors would work on the project if the contract were awarded to his company.
The state has 30 days to award the contract or repackage it for re-bidding.