CHARLESTON, WV – A six-lane upgrade to Interstate 79 in the Fairmont area is among 16 projects that were included in a recent remote bid letting conducted by the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH).
The project will widen I-79 to three lanes in both directions from the South Fairmont exit to Pleasant Valley Road exit. The project also includes the replacement of three bridges. Six companies bid on the project.
“I-79 is heavily traveled in the area,” said Mike Cronin, District Engineer for WVDOH District 4, which includes Marion County. “It’s narrow and the bridges are narrow. There’s a really long bridge we’re replacing, so it’s a pretty big project.”
Construction is scheduled to begin in May 2021 and be completed in September 2024.
The letting also included two slides on highly-traveled Wayne County roads; projects that will be paid for using funds from Gov. Jim Justice’s Roads To Prosperity program in order to expedite the much-needed repairs.
A full list of the projects included in the April 13 letting is as follows:
- Dry Branch Bridge superstructure replacement (Kanawha County)
- Fairmont – Pleasant Valley Road widening and bridge project (Marion County)
- Maitland – Big Four Road resurfacing (McDowell County)
- Raysal Arch Bridge replacement (McDowell County)
- Ada – Ingleside Road resurfacing (Mercer County)
- Monument Place Bridge renovation (Ohio County)
- Seneca – Harman Hills resurfacing (Pendleton County)
- Seneca – Harman Hills resurfacing  (Pendleton County)
- Amma – County 29 resurfacing (Roane County)
- Spring Valley Drive slide correction (Wayne County) (Roads To Prosperity)
- Vernicks Road (WV37) slide correction (Wayne County) (Roads To Prosperity)
- District 1 road striping
- District 2 road striping
- District 3 road striping
- District 4 road striping
- District 5 road striping
The WVDOH is reviewing the bids and hopes to award contracts for these projects soon.
Several factors are considered before awarding a bid, including whether a bid falls above or below the WVDOH Engineer’s Estimate and by what percentage. In cases where a bid is above the Engineer’s Estimate, WVDOH must consider the project need, repercussions of not awarding the project, additional funding sources, and whether or not sufficient reasons exist for the differences in estimates. Most projects are reviewed, analyzed, and awarded within a week of the bid letting, but the process can take longer.
When the WVDOH has a project that is determined to be best constructed by a contractor, it is processed through the bid letting system. A letting is a scheduled opportunity for contractors to review and bid on several construction projects at one time.
Lettings are held either once or twice per month. In accordance with the most recent guidelines and best practices recommended by medical experts regarding COVID-19 and in the interest of social distancing, the WVDOH continues to hold bid lettings remotely.
Lettings are conducted through the Bid Express System at www.bidx.com and handled through the Contract Administration Division. Contractors need to subscribe to Bid Express before bids can be accepted on any project.
As the date and time approach the deadline of the letting, contractors are expected to place their bids, with complete documentation as necessary. Shortly after the letting, the respective bids are reviewed. All bids are evaluated thoroughly for competitiveness and deemed acceptable through guidelines as approved by policy, reviewed, and approved by the FHWA. Award of the contracts is made based on the recommendation by our Awards Committee based on the results that evaluation and approval by the Commissioner. Projects are typically awarded to the lowest bidder that has all proper documentation in place.