County to rebid street projects

LISBON — Columbiana County commissioners last week rejected bids received for projects in Wellsville, Salem and Leetonia because the low bids in each case exceeded project estimates by more than is allowed.

The rejected bids were for major street projects in Wellsville and Salem and for development of a mini “pocket” park in Leetonia..

The winning bid for any public-funded project cannot exceed the engineer’s estimate by more than 10 percent, and that was the problem.

For example, the estimate for the Wellsville project — the repair and repaving of four intersections in bad shape from heavy truck traffic — was $748,826. Parella-Pannunzio of Youngtown was the low bidder at $1 million, or 33 percent more than the estimate.

In Salem, the lowest of the bids received to resurface Franklin Street from South Lincoln Avenue to South Broadway was $165,135 from R.T. Vernal & Excavating, which exceed the $139,000 estimate by 16 percent.

The same thing occurred with the bids for the pocket park in Leetonia.

Most of the money for these projects is coming from the commissioners’ 2019 federal Community Development Block Grant allocation, which is why they were responsible for awarding the bids. Salem is receiving $100,000 from commissioners, Wellsville $79,000 and Leetonia $45,000.

The county Port Authority is administering the CDBG program for commissioners, and Port Authority Director Penny Traina said the only project they are going to rebid immediately is Wellsville, which will be scaled back. Instead of repairing the intersections with concrete and repaving the streets, the repaving component is being removed and will be done another time.

“Our engineer believes we have enough time to get the project in” before bad weather arrives for good, she said.

Salem officials have already said they will wait until next year to rebid the Franklin Street repaving project. The money does not have to be spent until August 2020.

Traina said she has yet to hear from Leetonia whether they want to wait until 2020 as well. Only one bid was received for the pocket park, which was for $61,482. “I think it’s up to the administration what they want to do, but I don’t think they’ve made a decision yet,” Traina said of Leetonia.

She cannot recall any time when bids on three projects were rejected at the same time because each each exceeded 10 percent of the engineer’s estimate. One possible reason is there are currently more projects than contractors.

“What we’re hearing is contractors are busy and they’re all working, which is a good thing,” Traina said.


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