PAOLA — The Wea Creek bridge on Hedge Lane south of 311th Street will undergo a full replacement, starting this spring.

Miami County commissioners on Wednesday, Feb. 5, awarded the construction project to Wichita-based Dondlinger & Sons Construction Co. Inc., which submitted the low bid of $1,489,996.78. The bid came in under the budget estimate of $1.53 million. Other bids ranged up to $1.99 million.

Project Manager Matt Oehlert said the work is expected to start between March 2 and April 27 and is scheduled for 200 calendar days. The project will require traffic to be diverted to Oak Grove during construction. A detour route will be made public soon.

Oehlert said magnesium chloride would be applied to Oak Grove Road for dust control. Commissioner Rob Roberts asked that a small portion of Victory Road, south of 311th Street, also receive dust control.

Bids for construction engineering inspection services were to be opened Tuesday, Feb. 11. Oehlert said firms expressing interest in the work are reputable, and he expects bids to be competitive.

Oehlert said traffic on Hedge Lane at the bridge south of Paola is quite substantial with an average daily count of about 1,400 vehicles, according to the most recent study.

The bridge, which was built in the 1950s, will be moved about 40 to 50 feet to compensate for a shift in the Wea Creek channel.

“The channel is migrating south so we’re actually taking the bridge from the current location and matching the channel with it,” Oehlert said.

The county’s quarter-cent sales tax is the primary funding source for the project, which was not eligible for federal or state grants.

Commissioner Danny Gallagher asked Oehlert if the county had done business with Dondlinger Construction in the past.

“We have not,” Oehlert said. “They are mainly out of Wichita and Sedgwick County, that’s kind of their market area.”

Dondlinger Construction is pre-qualified through the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT). Oehlert said he talked with representatives of KDOT, Sedgwick County and the city of Wichita about Dondlinger Construction’s reputation and no one had complaints about the company.

Oehlert said Aaron Carter, Dondlinger Construction’s project superintendent, met with him to talk about the company.

“Basically they are wanting to enter into the KC metro area,” Oehlert said.

Oehlert said the company noted Miami County is a member of the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) which represents nine counties in the metro area on both sides of the state line, according to its website.

“They saw this as an opportunity for them to break in (to the market), so they wanted to be extremely competitive,” Oehlert said. “In my opinion it doesn’t hurt to have another competitive contractor up in this area doing large bridges for us.”

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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