Update: Commissioners Approve Pruss Hill Road Bridge Bid

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – The clock is ticking once again on the proposed replacement of the failing, single-lane, and weight-restricted Pruss Hill Road bridge in Lower Pottsgrove.

The township Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve the lowest cost bid of $421,361, submitted by Bi State Construction Co. Inc., and move ahead with the replacement timeline, with the possibility of a bridge ribbon-cutting sometime during the fall.

Awarding the bridge bid had been placed on hold by commissioners during their May 2 (2022; Monday) meeting, because the Bi State bid seemed unusually low by comparison to four other bidders, and also because they acknowledged knowing little-to-nothing about the low bidder. They asked township engineering representative Jim McCarthy and Solicitor Jamie Ottaviano to research and report on Bi State.

It passed muster, the pair said, having collected testimonials from other municipalities for which the Easton-based company had done work, and checked other relevant documents and sources. The firm, founded in 1970, has done substantial work in the Lehigh Valley area, township Manager Ed Wagner said. With that research in hand, Wagner added, the board’s earlier concerns “really fell off.”

“We appreciate your keeping us informed every step of the way,” board Vice President Earl E. Swavely Jr. told township staff members during the commissioners’ May 19 (Thursday) meeting, when the bid was accepted.

  • Read an earlier story below, published May 17 by The Post, that describes the commissioners’ decision to delay the bid award.

Pruss Hill Road Bridge Replacement Bids Receive Scrutiny

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – The lowest-priced bid of five submitted to Lower Pottsgrove for replacement of the Pruss Hill Road bridge not only surprised township officials but, at nearly $100,000 less than its competitors, seemed almost unbelievable, they suggested.

“Suspiciously low,” township Commissioner Bob Mohollen said.

But a bid is a bid, and because they have 60 days in which to make a decision on accepting any bid or rejecting all of them, the Board of Commissioners during its May 2 (Monday) meeting asked engineering representative Jim McCarthy of McCarthy Engineering Associates Inc. and Solicitor Jamie Ottaviano to check and verify all bids and bidders for the long-awaited project.

The aged and deteriorating bridge has been under weight-limit restrictions for several years, and has long been targeted for replacement. Vetting the entire contractor list, Commissioner Ray Lopez noted, was prudent to ensure all “are able to do this job.”

McCarthy and Ottaviano have since been gathering information, checking references, and conducting interviews with companies involved. McCarthy may be prepared to offer the board a report and possibly make an acceptance recommendation during its Thursday (May 19) meeting, township Manager Ed Wagner said.

The bidders, ranked from lowest to highest bid, were:

  • Bi State Construction Co. Inc., $421,361;
  • Construction Master Services LLC, $519,075;
  • CMR Construcion Inc., $647,892;
  • Road-Con Inc., $660,066; and
  • DOLI Construction Corp., $660,328.

All submitted bids, Wagner said, exceeded – by about $225,000 – grant and other funds the township is holding in reserve to pay for the bridge removal and replacement. It likely will use a portion of unallocated funding received under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to cover the difference, he added.

Assuming any of the bids is accepted Thursday, McCarthy has indicated during past meetings that the township remains “on track” for a late summer construction start with an eye toward completion in the fall. The pre-fabricated bridge will be delivered to the Pruss Hill Road site in sections and assembled there. A portion of the road is expected to be closed to traffic during the period.

Photo by The Post