published Friday, May 24th, 2013

Jasper finds big savings on U.S. 41 bridge construction

JASPER, Tenn. — City leaders announced in February that they would have to borrow $100,000 more than they expected to complete water line installation work at the new U.S. Highway 41 bridge crossing the Tennessee River.

Then they went to work looking for ways to get back within budget.

Mayor Paul Evans said Britton Bridge in Mount Juliet, Tenn., which is overseeing construction of the bridge, estimated the installation of the anchors and sleeves to hold the water line in place would cost $173,000.

Originally, officials had budgeted $70,000 for that part of the project. However, they found a much better price recently.

Chattanooga Mechanical Contractors Inc. placed a bid of $34,400 for the job, and the Jasper Board of Mayor and Alderman recently voted unanimously to accept the offer.

"I'm extremely proud of this bid right here compared to the one that we got from Britton Bridge," Evans said.

Gary Cosby, an engineer with CTI Engineers Inc., said he negotiated with another company that is installing conduits for cable companies on the other side of the bridge, but that price came in almost double that of the low bid.

"This contract will actually put the hangers in the deck [of the bridge], and they will also furnish the sleeves to Britton to install," he said. "We've gotten a really good price."

The anchors or "hangers" for the water line must be installed as the bridge decking concrete is poured, he said.

Before voting, Alderman Paul "Mac" Bumpus said he wanted to make sure the materials and installation the winning bidder was proposing were like comparing "apples to apples" with Britton Bridge and others.

Evans said he has spoken with Cosby several times about Chattanooga Mechanical Contractors and its low bid, and Cosby is "comfortable" with using the company on the job.

"This price is no comparison," Evans said.

Cosby said the project and work will be fully bonded.

"We came across this company in Chattanooga, and this is really good compared to what we had," he said. "This is a really great price."

Traffic is expected to be flowing across the bridge by February 2014.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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