Thursday, June 2, 2005

Bypass hits snag

Staff Writer

The completion of the north Holly Springs bypass road has hit another snag after the board of supervisors rebid the project.

Bids opened last week showed the lowest coming in nearly $1 million over the funds secured to pay for extension of the road and bridges from Highway 311 to the North Holly Springs exit.

Chancery Clerk Chuck Thomas said he believed the bidders are concerned about the rising price of fuel and steel for bridges.

The lowest bidder, Talbot Brothers Construction Co., said it could do the project for $3,401,706. Colom Construction Co. failed to sign its bid and was disqualified. Ronald Terry Construction bid $4,108,653 and Eutaw bid $5,435,465.

Previous bids to construct the rest of the loop from Highway 311 that included the surfacing of the bypass were all turned down by supervisors earlier this year at the recommendation of Mississippi Department of Transportation.

In November 2004 Talbot Brothers came in with the lowest bid to do the entire project for $3,938,150, close to a million over what engineers estimated it would cost ($3.2 million).

The board of supervisors voted to hold the bids for 60 days while it sought additional funds or a strategy that would keep the project moving.

The board of supervisors opted to rebid the project after pulling out the paving with hopes of finding funding by mid-2006 or early 2007. The financial plan for funding was put together using money from state aid, Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

County engineer Larry Britt explained to supervisors last week that the original bids could have been taken last year with a change order taking out the paving, which amounted to about 25 percent of the costs of construction, but MDOT recommended against it because the figure was on the border of what state law will allow for change orders. Instead, they require bids to be rejected and the scope of the project to be reduced, Britt said.

Earlier this year the board voted to take the paving out and rebid the project with hope that bids would come in at or below funds set aside for the project.

Bid opening for overlay and bridge projects on Hernando Road near Hawks Feed Mill are set to be opened June 6.

In other business, the board of supervisors:

  • heard a proposal from Chelius Carter relative to restoration of historic commercial buildings on the town square. He proffered a lease-purchase arrangement to the county if a building could be found to restore for the county to use as office or courtroom space.

    Supervisors said they would determine how much space is needed and parking needs first.

  • voted to make some changes to the personal property rolls at the request of tax assessor Ronnie Johnson.

    He also recommended and the board agreed to purchase upgraded county road maps for distribution in county offices to the public.

    The board approved several homestead exemption applications and voted to remove four incomplete applications from the list due to failure of those applicants to provide all information required. The action closed a two-week extension for those applicants to bring in the required documents.

  • approved travel for election commissioners and Lucy Carpenter to attend training seminars.
  • authorized a cash draw down to pay creditors for supplies used in construction of walking trails at the county community centers. Funding came from grants.
  • heard a report from Larry Hall on road work.

Road preparation for paving is underway on Atway Road and Isom Chapel Road. Right-of-way clearing has begun on Cayce Road and repairs at Turner Cove. Hall reported that two road workers were off with medical concerns.

Spots on several other roads are being dug out and patched.

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