Cumberland Times-News

Local News

July 25, 2013

U.S. 219 bids lower than expected

Somerset to Meyersdale project could start soon

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. — Work could begin as soon as October on the first major construction phase of the long-awaited U.S. Route 219 South extension after bids came in lower than expected Thursday.

Joseph B. Fay Co. in suburban Pittsburgh is the apparent low bidder at $110,468,000 for excavation and preliminary construction along the entire 11-mile extension from Somerset to Meyersdale.

“This is great news,” Penn-DOT District Executive Tom Prestash said after the virtual bid opening at District 9 headquarters in Hollidaysburg.

“This is the day we have been waiting for, for the last 40 years,” Somerset County Commissioner John Vatavuk said at the PennDOT office.

Fay edged out Somerset County-based New Enterprise Stone & Lime Corp., which submitted the second-lowest bid at $123,835,354.99.

“We are disappointed New Enterprise didn’t get it,” Vatavuk said. “They have a plant right in Somerset, and they are based out of Somerset County. A lot of people in Somerset County work for New Enterprise.”

PennDOT can’t give companies preferential treatment based on location, Prestash said, adding that the state is pleased that the Fay company submitted a bid that was lower than engineers’ estimated cost.

Bid documents will be reviewed and bond information verified before the contract is actually awarded, Prestash said.

The successful bidder could be given the notice to proceed by Sept. 23, said Jim Pruss, portfolio manager.

The contractor will be required to obtain a waste permit, identifying what it will do with about 5 million yards of rock and soil it will have to remove along the new highway’s route, Pruss said.

The new four-lane, limited-access highway from Somerset to Meyersdale is the largest new road-building project currently in the state.

Two more rounds of bidding will be needed over the course of the four-year pro-ject in order to complete all three phases.

The Route 219 extension to Meyersdale has been in the planning and design process since at least 2006, with land acquisition beginning in 2009 and wrapping up last year, project engineer Greg Illig said.

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