Cerro Gordo supervisors okay with higher-than-anticipated cost for replacement of trail section near Thornton

MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors gave their go-ahead to the county’s Conservation Board to approve a higher-than-anticipated bid for replacement of a section of the county’s Prairie Land Trail going west out of Thornton between Finch and Grouse Avenues.

County Conservation Director Josh Brandt says there were seven bids for the project, but they all came back higher than the engineer’s estimated cost.  “I originally budgeted $380,000 for that mile. $235,000 of that is secured with a grant already, so we’ve already leveraged that amount of funding. So the ask from the supervisors originally was going to be $144,000. Bids came back at the end of the week prior here, and the low bid was $413,082.”

Brandt and the supervisors agreed that the likelihood of getting lower bids if they re-bid the project  was very slim.   “Based on the rest of the bids, they were up to double, the high bids were double the engineer’s estimate was. They ranged from anywhere from $413,000 to $667,000.”

Brandt says their consultant from SEH Engineers says the lowest bid now will likely be the end cost of the project. “Likely the cost will end that high. She says they built in a lot more mobilization cost because they’re worried about being able to secure some of the product for building bridges due to the Buy American initiative for construction materials, so they are worried they may not be able to secure that product according to the deadlines established with the contract, so that’s why they built in more money into that mobilization.”

With the supervisors giving their approval, the Conversation Board will consider awarding the contract for the trail project at their next meeting.