June 19, 2018
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Bids plentiful, lower for winter road maintenance in Unorganized Territory

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff

GREENVILLE, Maine — For many years, there was such little interest among contractors in certain winter road maintenance projects in Piscataquis County’s portion of the Unorganized Territory that the county commissioners had to plead for bids.

Commissioners on Tuesday concluded that the drought has finally ended after opening four bids for winter maintenance in Frenchtown and Lily Bay and three bids for work in Blanchard.

“It’s a reflection of the economy,” Commissioner Tom Lizotte said of the number of bids submitted and the relatively low bid amounts. “We’ve had years in the past where we’ve had to beg contractors to even put in a bid on some of this work.”

Last year was the first in many years that the county had a healthy competition for winter maintenance in the Unorganized Territory communities of Williamsburg and Orneville.

Commissioner Eric Ward said Tuesday that it was nice to see the competition after years of receiving only one bid for a project in certain communities. He also noted that it was equally nice to see a decrease in the bid amounts from previous years. ”It’s good news for the taxpayers,” Ward remarked.

The county, through the UT budget, paid $8,000 per mile last year for 10.74 miles of roadway in Blanchard. The lowest bid submitted this year by Gordon Contracting of Sangerville was $6,984 per mile for each of three years. In comparison, the highest bid submitted for the work was $7,500 per mile.

Four bids were received for winter maintenance of the Frenchtown and Lily Bay Roads. The bids ranged from $6,400 to $7,000 per mile for each of three years. The county paid $7,000 per mile for the work in the last five years.

The commissioners tabled action on the bids to allow County Manager Marilyn Tourtelotte and UT road agent Tracy Lord of Greenville to review the bids for compliance with the bid specifications.

Lord, who was in attendance at the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday, said the county receives complaints about summer maintenance on the Lily Bay Road. He noted that the road is a state aid road and the county is responsible only for winter maintenance. Many of the roads in the eastern part of the Unorganized Territory also are state aid roads for which the county is obligated to do only the plowing and sanding.

Correction: An earlier version of this story should have stated the highest bid for Blanchard roads was $7,500 per mile, not $7,490. The next lowest bid was $7,490 per mile.

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