EAST BURKE — Select Board members went with the least expensive option in choosing a company to handle the East Darling Hill Road project.
Ten companies bid for the project. The choice of Dale E. Percy Inc. from Stowe was unanimous among the town’s three board members.
Percy’s bid of 736,709.10 was the lowest by more than $10,000. Munson Earth Moving, of Williston, bid 747,338.01.
Work, expected to commence in the spring, will improve just under a mile of the road. Better drainage will curtail future road degradation and a lane for bikes will be added. East Darling Hill Road connects Route 114 in East Burke to Darling Hill Road.
The road is a major route for bicyclists using the Kingdom Trails. The Kingdom Trails Association was a co-applicant with the town in acquiring grant funding.
The project has been in the planning and funding phases for more than two years. Town officials recently secured the final easements from East Darling Hill landowners in order seek construction bids.
The bids were opened on Feb. 3 by select board members, Christine Emmons, Ford Hubbard and Joe Allard. Town Administrator Mike Harris said 10 bids was a lot. “There were an unusually high number of bidders on the project,” he said.
Harris said he didn’t know why so many bids were presented other than to say that the dual emphasis on road upgrades for cars and bikes perhaps sparked greater interest.
Other bids received came from J Hutchins, of New Hampshire, $887,809.14; Manosh, Morrisville, $896,094.30; JP Sicard, Barton, $787,387.28; Kirk Fenoff & Son, Danville, $830,783.03; Winterset, Lyndonville, $1,012,820.10; G.W. Tatro Construction, Jefferson, $843,325.36; Austin Construction, Concord, $896,637.70; and Pike, Barre, $856,386.14.
Once opened, the select board set Feb. 12 as the day to consider the bids and pick a winner. They convened at 1 p.m. on Feb. 12 and decided the issue in Percy’s favor in less than 20 minutes.
Harris said cost was the big factor in the decision after board members discussed the merits of the company. “They have a good reputation,” he said. The engineering firm for the project reported that Percy is a good company, he said.
The company has been around for decades and has done work with municipalities. In terms of past Northeast Kingdom projects, Percy did the site work for the Jay Peak Water Park.
The East Darling Hill Road Project is expected to be completed by the end of September.