A proposal to upgrade Winona County highway shops in Elba and Utica produced bids that came in a full one-third over architect cost estimates, and the board was expected to reject the bids Tuesday and delay the project until the 2014 construction season.
Board members were briefed on the projects in recent months, expecting the total for the upgrades to the two shops to come in at just over $1 million. When bids were solicited, however, only Wapasha Construction expressed interest, and its bid was for $1.53 million.
The board had considered building a new highway shop in a central location to replace the aging buildings, but opted to repair the Elba and Utica sites due to efficiencies in snow plow routes and response times with two different shops. After staff members approached the board with an idea to expand the Elba highway shop, contingent upon the purchase of adjacent property, the board agreed to consider purchasing the land and expanding the Elba building.
Using labor from the jailís Sentence To Service program was expected to reduce the cost of the building projects by approximately $73,000. The board was expected to consider rejecting the bids and crafting a new plan for the highway shop upgrades Tuesday night, just after the Winona Post went to press.