The project has been on-again, off-again since federal funding agency Rural Development approved funding of $5 million ($2 million in grants and a $3 million loan) for the project in July of 2002. But the project, which will serve 167 new residential customers starting from the old Pepsi plant through Woodlawn and back to Crooked Creek, took a major step forward as project engineer Kevin Heath opened the six bids on Sept. 24.
During a joint meeting of the PSA and the Carroll County Board of Supervisors later that evening, Heath recommended the board accept the lowest base bid of $3,845, 592 from Landform Construction of Mount Airy, N.C.. Landform’s bid was about $50,000 lower than the next lowest bidder (Prillaman & Pace, Inc. bid $3,893,185). Other bidders were DLB, Inc. of Hillsville ($4,081,800), Ramey, Inc. ($4,634,701.65), E.C. Pace Co., Inc. ($5,404,898) and Central Builders, Inc. ($6,829,390).
The PSA also accepted bids for a pair of additions to the project — a Route 58 crossing near Carrollwood Drive as well as the closure of a treatment plant near the Southwest Virginia Training Center. Those are in addition to base project and would have to approved separately from the base project, Assistant County Administrator Ronald Newman said. He added that if the Route 58 crossing were not approved, the closure of the treatment station couldn’t be approved either.
“The treatment plant (once we finish the Route 58 crossing and if it is approved to finish the Route 58 crossing) has to be closed,” Newman said. “The question is do we hire a contractor to do it or do we do it ourselves?”
Landform’s bid on the Route 58 sewer line crossing was $69,459, about $5,500 more than DLB’s bid of $63,905. Landform’s bid of $31,427 was the third-lowest bid (Prillaman & Pace was the lowest at $26,372).
Rural Development must also review the documents before approving to award the contract.
Hutchins said he was extremely pleased with the relatively low costs of the project bids. Heath added that bids would have probably been 50 percent higher at this time a year ago.
“This is a good time. Building construction costs in general...PVC costs are up, I know that because I deal in pieces of that. But right now there is not a lot of work (for contractors) and I think it is an excellent time for the county,” Hutchins said. “It happened at a good time for the county and we also hope our other major projects will find the equal interest. From a business-standpoint, it is a very good time.”
Hutchins said he also appreciated Rural Development cooperating with the PSA for so long on the project and for not withdrawing funding.
“If they had, we would have not been here today,” Hutchins said. “I am also really happy for the staff and Ronald, Dana (Phillips), Ray (Hill) and Kevin stepping up and moving this project on because it was floundering there for a little while. In the last three months we have moved along at a tremendous pace.”
County Administrator Gary Larrowe credited Hutchins for continually pushing the project forward.
“If it hadn’t been for the leadership of David, it wouldn’t have happened,” Larrowe said. “This is just another example of excellent leadership from the PSA as a group and David Hutchins as the chairman.”
At the conclusion of the bid opening, Heath told contractors to stay in touch as the PSA has several major water and sewer projects still in the works.