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Venture gets nod for 8th Street work
Engineer recommends Venture’s overall low bid
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DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune Paving bids for the new stretch of Eighth Street between Grant and McKinley were again the Great Bend City Council agenda Monday night. Shown is an eastward view of where the street will be.

Great Bend City Council meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Great Bend City Council did Monday night:

• Held a public budget hearing prior to the meeting. During the agenda meeting, the council approved the 2019 budget ordinance.

• Heard a plea from Mike Minton of the Great Bend Bombers youth baseball organization and other youth baseball and softball teams to install artificial turf at the Great Bend Sports Complex. The goal would be to make the city more competitive in attracting tournaments to town, while providing safer fields that are less susceptible to having games rained out.

However, city officials said they would have to study the issue and get commitments from the Great Bend Recreation Commission and USD 428. City Administrator Kendal Francis has a meeting planned Aug. 29 with officials from both entities.

• Approved a bid from Venture Corporation for paving work related to the Eighth Street expansion from Grant to McKinley using asphalt. On-call Engineer Josh Golka made the recommendation.

• Changed the date for the next regular council meeting to Tuesday, Sept. 4. The regular Monday meeting would fall on Labor Day. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.

• Approved closing the north lane of Forest Avenue from Main Street to Williams Street from 6-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, for the YP5K and Half Marathon.

• Approved some requests for the 2018 Airfest. These included permission to allow camping at the airport and permission to sell alcohol inside the hanger the weekend of Sept. 28-30.

• Approved the Standard Traffic Ordinance as recommended by the League of Kansas Municipalities. This is done annually.

• Approved the Uniform Public Offense Code Ordinance. Again it is recommended by the League of Kansas Municipalities and is done annually..

• Approved abatements at: 231 Fruit, motor vehicle nuisance, owned by Manuel Tavarez Valdez; 412 Locust, accumulation of refuse, owned by Azucena Carraseo; 1209 Truman, motor vehicle nuisance, owned by the Thomas H. Curtis Revocable Trust; and 1823 Tyler, motor vehicle nuisance, owned by Juan F. Flores.

• Heard a report from Christina Hayes, community coordinator and CVB director. She focused on Party in the Park.

Take two.

The Great Bend City Council again took up bids for the installation the new stretch of Eighth Street between Grant and McKinley Monday night. This was a sequel a heated Aug. 6 meeting when two of the bidders verbally sparred, bid specs were questioned and ended in the council tossing out all the bids and starting from scratch.

Josh Golka, the city’s on-call engineer from Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita, Monday night again recommended Venture Corporation of Great Bend. Although there were no fireworks from the crowd, it was a divided council that approved Venture’s proposal.

This time, Venture had the over-all low bid of $426,343.50 to pave the three blocks of Eighth with asphalt. The other contenders bid the project using concrete, with Suchy Construction of Great Bend having the low concrete bid of $451,951.21. The specifications allowed for either surface.

At the last meeting, Golka said there was much discussion as to whether asphalt or concrete would last longer. On Aug. 6, Golka said concrete does have a longer life expectancy.

But, Monday, he said both surfaces are “designed to be structurally equivalent.” It would be about 20 years before either would need serious maintenance.

Besides, he said, weather and traffic patterns would impact longevity of both, and those are difficult to predict. This is way he recommended the Venture bid, which was lower by $25,000.

The problem last time was one of the requirements in the bid specifications drawn up by Golka which required bidders to present written proof they had Kansas Department of Transportation pre-certification.

This is not a KDOT project, but Golka said the certification offers quality assurance that the contractor is capable of the job. Golka prepared the specs last fall with input from former City Administrator Howard Partington, former Public Works Director Charlie Suchy and former city engineering technician Carl Otter, who all requested the KDOT requirement.

The specs did allow for either asphalt or concrete.

However, for the rebid, Golka said PEC engineers and Great Bend officials met to discuss the specifications. They opted to remove the KDOT requirement all the bidders were qualified.

The players

The bidders, who were all the same players as last time, and their bids included:

• Venture Corporation of Great Bend that bid $426,343.50 (the last bid was $468,876.95) for asphalt which was below the engineer’s estimate of $680,663 for asphalt.

• Suchy Construction of Great Bend bidding $451,951.21 (the last bid was $462,951.61) for concrete (Suchy was the over-all low bid last time and below the concrete engineering estimate of $724,233). However, Suchy Construction didn’t have the certification when it submitted its first bid, but it does now.

• Vogts-Parga Construction of Newton bidding $$497,314.30 (the same as last time) for concrete. It has the certification, but did not submit proof with its first bid.

• L and M Contractors of Great Bend bidding $514,560 (the same as last time) for concrete. It also has the certification, but did not submit proof in the first round.

After an oft passionate discussion, the council Aug. 6 voted to throw out all four bids it had received and rebid the work. There were concerns expressed that rebidding would be unfair since all the interested contractors now knew each others bids.

Representatives of Suchy Construction also questioned the need for KDOT approval for the project. 

Technically, Venture had the only legitimate bid the first time around, Golka said. In Fact, the other bids shouldn’t have even been read and Golka took the blame for the error.

“We were put in a really bad situation last time,” Councilman Cory Urban said Monday. Because of these missteps, he said he resorted to doing his own research.

In the end, Councilman Cory Zimmerman moved to accept the Venture bid, which was seconded by Councilman Joel Jackson.

With Jolene Biggs abstaining and Andrew Erb opting not to vote, the measure passed 3-2. Zimmerman, Jackson and Brock McPherson voted in favor, while Urban and Dan Heath voted against it.

A bigger picture

This work is integral to the planned improvements to 10th and Grant intersection since it would act as a bypass to help ease traffic during that project.

That is a KDOT project and it will be bid in October, Golka said. But, work won’t start until next March.

Golka said this is a petition project, meaning it is paid for by a benefit district made up of businesses and property owners along the stretch of street. Special assessments charged to these owners will cover the cost of the work.


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TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO The Great Bend City Council Monday night approved special permissions for the Great Bend Airfest, set for Sept. 28-30.