Keokuk Will Wait To Rebuild Grand Avenue

Keokuk, IA – Keokuk was ready to rebuild 11 blocks of Grand Avenue (4th Street to 15th Street) this summer and fall. The project would have also included the replacement of sewer and water lines.

Keokuk borrowed about $3,400,000 for the project. The estimated cost came in at $3,170,786.50.

The city ran into a problem, though, when the bids came in much higher than anticipated.

Shipley Construction (Burlington, IA) - $3,906,348.83
Langman Construction (Rock Island, IL) - $4,035,993.62
Keokuk Contractors (Keokuk, IA) - $4,705,599.67
Myers Driveway Service (Keokuk, IA) - $4,852,244.50
Muscatine Bridge (Muscatine, IA) - $5,050,859.20

Public Works Director Gerald Moughler and representatives of Shoemaker-Haaland reviewed the bids and recommended the Keokuk City Council accept Shipley Construction's bid.

The council talked about scaling back the scope of the project and spreading the work out over two construction seasons to make the numbers work. But in the end, the panel came to a consensus to seek new bids so construction can begin in early 2011.

7th Ward Alderwoman Susan Dunek says the council believes extending the construction season will reduce overtime costs built into the bids. She says the panel will also look at the penalty structure for late work to again cut back costs.

The city may also get some help from Keokuk Water Works in lowering the cost of the project. General Manager Bill Cole says his organization can install the water lines this fall.

Procedural Problem

Keokuk's plan to formally reject the bids for the reconstruction of Grand Avenue did not go as planned.

The Keokuk City Council was scheduled to award a contract for the work during its meeting. But instead of amending the resolution to reject the bids, aldermen completely ignored it.

Several council members said, after the meeting, that they thought their inaction counted as a rejection of the bids. Public Works Director Gerald Moughler said it did not.

It's unclear when, or if, a special meeting will be held in the next two weeks to formally reject the bids and start the process over.