MURFREESBORO, DAILY NEWS JOURNAL, NOVEMBER 19, 2013 — The state rejected October bids to construct a bridge over Broad Street and will take new bids in Dec. 6, a spokeswoman said today.
“It won’t affect the overall time line of the project,” Deanna Lambert, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation,
said during a phone interview. “It will get started early in 2014.”
The estimated $30 million project that includes design work and right of way acquisition is supposed to relieve congestion at the Broad Street intersection with Memorial Boulevard/Old Fort Parkway. TDOT estimates about 60,000 vehicles cross the intersection daily, and the number is projected to grow to 72,740 by 2034.
TDOT decided clearer communication between the state and bidders was needed because the low bidder may have ended up being more expensive for the three-year project, she said.
“The way the contractor bid some items could have led to a situation later where it could have cost more than what the second bidder bid,” Lambert said.
After choosing a bidder, the state will work with the company and the city of Murfreesboro to hold a yet scheduled information meeting for the public about the project, Lambert said.
The meeting will “probably be after the holidays once the contractor is hired,” Lambert said.
The October bids were in the $18 million-plus range with Jones Bros. Inc. as the low bidder out of five at $18.25 million. Others competing for the job are: Bell & Associates Construction L.P. with a bid of $18.78 million; Rogers Group Inc., $18.96 million; Potter South East Inc., $20.149 million; and Dement Construction Company LLC, $20.151 million.
Councilman Eddie Smotherman said during a phone interview that most public opinion he’s hearing supports the bridge over Broad project.
“I actually sense that the people I talk to in Murfreesboro are eager to get the project started,” said Smotherman, noting that he does support TDOT asking for new bids to ensure that the state can compare the cost of the services in a fair and accurate way to protect the taxpayers. “It does appear it will delay the start of the bridge slightly. I don’t think there’s still any ground breaking news. There’s been no change in plans other than a potential delay because of the bidding agreement. But I will say that after waiting 20 years for this bridge this hiccup is not going to be a very long delay.”
State Rep. Mike Sparks of Smyrna agreed that the bridge over Broad is needed.
“I was at that intersection the other night and almost got hit,” said Sparks, who serves as vice chairman of the Tennessee House Transportation Committee. “Someone was trying to get into that center lane. It’s the busiest intersection in Rutherford County, and it’s one of the busiest intersections in the state. So something has to be done in a cost-effective manner.”
Sparks during a phone interview acknowledged that some residents oppose the new bridge.
“There’s been a lot of folks who don’t like change sometimes, and change is inevitable with progress,” Sparks said. “One thing we can be proud of is we have the best road system in the nation, and I have the utmost confidence in TDOT and their engineers to handle a project of this magnitude. It is pretty enormous.”
The state has also a budget of $6.8 million for the right of way purchases that range from $1.8 million to $3,900. TDOT has acquired 22 of the 29 tracts for the projects and awaits judgments from condemnation lawsuits for seven.