Pro-active effort by Anderson County results in low pricing on paving bids

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By Stan Welch

The quick action by both Anderson County and the Anderson County Transportation Committee to prioritize road projects and get them out for bids as soon as possible paid significant dividends when the state released additional monies to the various counties, according to some of the players in the process.

Anderson County Deputy Administrator and Public Works Director Holt Hopkins said that the close working relationship between the County, ACTC and consultant CoTransCo was essential in being able to take advantage of a somewhat depressed paving industry.

“As soon as the Anderson County Transportation Committee (ACTC) heard that there would be extra money coming to them, they started meeting in August, trying to get a list put together.  They received the final number and instructions from the SCDOT on how this was to be spent in October,” Hopkins said. “In November they settled on a final list and allowed the engineering firm, CoTransCo, to go to work putting the bid documents together. The contract was awarded in March ahead of all the other Counties.  CoTransCo is convinced, and I agree, that we got the best prices because there was little to no work available at the time the ACTC contract was bid out.”

“On the County side, County Council got ahead of others by approving their paving list in July of last year, allowing staff to ask the ACTC for additional funds to go with the County funds,” according to Hopkins. “The ACTC approved $1.5M in August.  This accelerated schedule allowed us to bid out our contract in the fall and award it before Christmas.  I believe we received very competitive prices too, because we bid it out so early. We suspected it was important to get out early, because the recession forced the asphalt companies in the area to cut back, significantly reducing the capacity of the Upstate’s asphalt industry. “

Hopkins also credits the ACTC for their timely efforts to get the list of projects assembled and approved. CoTransCo was brought on board last year to address the needs of the county in terms of roads and bridges, and to facilitate such efforts.

In a brief memo to the ACTC, CoTransCo’s Jeff Hildebran provided some details about the way events played out, and the savings that resulted from the swift response by all the parties involved.

“Anderson was the first in the state to accept bids on the H-4230 State Secondary Road Resurfacing One time allocation.  Of the 46 CTC’s across the state only 19 are Self Administered like Anderson.  Only 4 of these counties have put their H-4230 road projects out to bid.  It is my understanding that none of the CTC’s that allow the SCDOT to administer have their contracts out to bid.”

 “The roads selected by the ACTC are roads that really needed attention and were not eligible for Federal Matching Funds.  These roads require more then simple patching and paving; most need to be totally reclaimed and rebuilt.  Therefore, they cost more per mile to rehabilitate and then pave. 

Anderson received bids on March 16th at an average cost of around $330,000/ 2 lane road mile.  Five days later, Greenville CTC accepted its bids on their H-4230 roads at an average cost of $491,000/ 2 lane road mile.”

“Based on conversations with King Asphalt, F&R Asphalt and Ashmore (now Rogers Group) they all are at capacity from either a pure asphalt/reclamation availability or from the inability to hire more qualified workers that can perform the necessary work.”

“Either way, Anderson benefited greatly from being the first CTC out of the gate on getting a contract locked in.  As a little background, the SCDOT put over $55 million dollars in resurfacing contracts on the street in the 4th quarter of 2015,” it states.

“This, in addition to all the private work on developments and commercial construction has put a squeeze on the contractors.  Hope this helps everyone get a clearer picture of how things are going.”