Replacement of an aging bridge in McDowell County is among three projects included in a bid letting conducted by the West Virginia Division of Highways on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022.
WVDOH is reviewing the bids and hopes to award contracts for these projects soon.
One project will replace the Big Creek Arch Bridge in McDowell County. The bridge carries WV 16 over Big Creek just east of the town of Berwind. The project is paid for through bond sales made possible by Gov. Jim Justice's $2.8 billion Roads to Prosperity highways maintenance and construction program.
The existing bridge was built in 1916 and is crucial for travel in southern McDowell County. Failure to replace the bridge would result in lengthy detours for drivers and commercial traffic.
In June 2021 the West Virginia Parkways Authority raised $423 million in bond sales to pay for projects in the 10 counties contiguous with the West Virginia Turnpike. The Big Creek Arch Bridge is among the projects paid for with that money.
Another project on January's bid letting will make repairs to piers and joints on the Larry Hacker Memorial Bridge in Ritchie County. The bridge carries US 50 over WV 16 in Ellenboro.
The final project in the bid letting will build a piling wall to correct a slide along US 219 in Pocahontas County. The project is on Lower Elk Mountain.
Several factors are considered before awarding a bid, including whether a bid falls above or below the WVDOH Engineer’s Estimate and by what percentage. In cases where a bid is above the Engineer’s Estimate, WVDOH must consider the project need, repercussions of not awarding the project, additional funding sources, and whether or not sufficient reasons exist for the differences in estimates. Most projects are reviewed, analyzed, and awarded within a week of the bid letting, but the process can take longer.
When the Division of Highways has a project that is determined to be best constructed by a contractor, it is processed through the bid letting system. A letting is a scheduled opportunity for contractors to review and bid on several construction projects at one time. Lettings are held either once or twice per month and conducted through the Bid Express System online at www.bidx.com and handled through the Contract Administration Division. Contractors need to subscribe to Bid Express before bids can be accepted on any project.
As the date and time approach the deadline of the letting, contractors are expected to place their bids, with complete documentation as necessary. Shortly after the letting, the respective bids are reviewed. All bids are evaluated thoroughly for competitiveness and deemed acceptable through guidelines as approved by policy, reviewed, and approved by the FHWA. Award of the contracts is made based on the recommendation by our Awards Committee based on the results that evaluation and approval by the Commissioner. Projects are typically awarded to the lowest bidder with all proper documentation in place.