A road project that has been discussed since the late 1990s and has been in the planning stage since 2008 is about to begin construction.
Becco Contractors, Inc. should start rebuilding and widening Country Club Road north from State Highway 51 by Nov. 3.
The city of Stillwater, Payne County and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation are working together on the project.
Stillwater is responsible for all improvements from the intersection of Country Club Road and State Highway 51 to the city limits then Payne County takes over.
The county portion was divided into phases due to budget concerns.
Phase I extends to just north of McElroy Road and includes replacing a bridge and reworking the McElroy intersection. Phase II will eventually extend the improvements to Lakeview Road.
It went to bid in February but the city and county opted to reject all bids when the lowest of four bidders came in at $7.5 million, almost $2 million above the engineer’s estimate of $5.6 million.
The city and county portions were separated before they were rebid by the state agency in May to attract more bidders and bring costs down but the total project came in higher at $7.6 million with only two bidders.
However, the cost for the county’s portion dropped by $350,000.
The city of Stillwater and ODOT had sufficient funds to move forward and opted to do that since Payne County could now afford to proceed and rebidding hadn’t helped the city.
City of Stillwater Transportation Director Jason Peek said the road base and bridge are being raised so the city and county portions have to be tied together and must be done at the same time.
Transportation Department Assistant Division Engineer Joe Echelle said the city of Stillwater will pay about $2.8 million and Payne County will pay about $4.8 million from the County Improvement to Roads and Bridges Fund ODOT administers.
Echelle said many factors can affect bid prices.
Stillwater’s location and the amount of work available can make a difference.
“Stillwater is feast or famine,” he said.
Contractors sometimes bid lower when they can save money by getting several jobs near each other.
Becco Contractors, Inc. has 180 calendar days from its start date to complete the job before $2,000 daily liquidated damages apply.
Weather delays aren’t included in the 180 day deadline but construction must halt during Oklahoma State University home football game weekends.
Peek told the City Council all lanes on State Highway 51 have to be open on game weekends or the contractor could be assessed a $6,000 lane rental fee.
State Highway 51 will be down to one lane at other times and Country Club Road will be closed to through traffic during most of the construction period, Echelle said.