ACTC reviews two Williamston area projects – Minor Street project bid

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By Stan Welch
The Anderson County Transportation Committee (ACTC) reviewed two proposed projects in Williamston at their meeting Monday afternoon.
The Minor Street bridge replacement has been bid and, pending confirmation of the low bidder’s qualifications and references, has been awarded to Saluda Construction, LLC. Their bid was almost twenty five per cent lower than that of S&S construction. The low bid was $337,615.
The question of qualifications stems mainly from a simple failure to respond by those queried about past performance of the company, and not any active concerns about their performance. Still, the large discrepancy in the two bids (the only ones received) would prohibit simply awarding the contract to S&S if the low bidder failed to meet the criteria.
“We would have to rebid the contract if Saluda was somehow disqualified. That would mean starting the whole bid process over,” said Deputy County Administrator Holt Hopkins, who was in attendance.
Dan Chisum, of the engineering firm BLE, explained the paucity of bids by pointing out that the SCDOT has recently bid out approximately thirty other bridge repairs or replacements. “The abundance of opportunities has both driven up costs and made some of these contractors a little more picky, to be frank. There are bigger contracts out there, and they are looking for them instead. If we rebid, there’s no guarantee we’ll get a bigger response next time, either.”
Chisum said that once the qualifications are verified, construction could begin quickly. In an effort to avoid the committee having to convene again to cover any minor increases resulting from the delay, the committee increased the approved budget from $328,000 to $350,000.
The other project reviewed and discussed is the Harbison Drive repair. Chisum reported that a large part of that project will involve significant improvement of the drainage infrastructure. The problem area is centered on a location where the drainage of an industrial site brings the water to the roadway, causing significant washout and flooding.
“There will be significant improvement as to drainage, as well as a complete rebuild on the town’s section of the road. That stretch is approximately eighteen hundred linear feet. The road bed will have to be raised by a foot or two. The estimate for that is $430,000.” He also pointed out that considerable additional engineering will be required before the project can even be accurately priced.
As the discussion progressed the idea came up of asking the company involved to contribute to the project, perhaps by absorbing the cost of the drainage device and the pipe involved in installing it. Committee member Tom Wham asked that the town also consider a ten per cent match for the cost.
Chairman Ronnie Townsend expressed his concern that the committee didn’t have enough details to commit almost a half million dollars to the project. Following further debate, an amended  motion was offered to authorize the engineering needed to produce an accurate estimate, as well as seeking participation fiscally from the industry and the town of Williamston. The amendment was unanimously approved.
The main result of the vote is to move the project back at least an additional ninety days.