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Francestown

Temporary bridge bids selected

Select Board goes with A & B Lumber of Pembroke, Hansen Bridge of New London

Members of the Francestown Select Board from left are Abigail Arnold, Chair Betsy Hardwick and Scott Carbee, as they review bid submissions for work on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike bridge at Thursday's Select Board work session meeting.

(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

Members of the Francestown Select Board from left are Abigail Arnold, Chair Betsy Hardwick and Scott Carbee, as they review bid submissions for work on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike bridge at Thursday's Select Board work session meeting. (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

FRANCESTOWN — The Select Board voted unanimously Thursday to move ahead with two companies that submitted bids in connection with the temporary bridge that will be constructed on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike: A & B Lumber out of Pembroke and Hansen Bridge of New London.

The town received a total of four bids, two for lumber and two for construction services. A & B Lumber bid $7,975 for 6,000 board feet, and Hansen bid $9,525 for excavation and heavy hauling work.

At Town Meeting in March, voters approved adding $70,000 to the town’s operating budget for the purpose of constructing a one-lane temporary bridge, as proposed by Kris Stewart of Francestown Sand and Gravel. Although the town has strayed away from Stewart’s original proposal, the Select Board recently solicited bids for materials and labor that the town’s Highway Department cannot supply

Road Agent Gary Paige said at a March 28 Select Board meeting that the maximum estimated cost for completion of the temporary bridge is $55,000 . But that number could change in the coming weeks, according to town officials.

“We haven’t come up with a definitive new estimate,” Town Administrator Michael Branley said in a phone interview Monday. “The lumber bids came in slightly less than what we expected, and the construction costs were about the same.” No estimated date for completion of the temporary bridge has been set either, according to Branley.

Originally Paige estimated the bridge would likely be completed by mid-May. But the lumber from A & B will take five weeks from the order date to arrive in Francestown, so Branley said that bridge completion date will be dictated by the lumber’s arrival.

In the meantime while waiting for the lumber, Branley said, it is yet to be determined how much work Francestown Highway will be doing to prep for construction. That will be up to Paige.

For timber, A & B Lumber offered No. 1 Southern yellow pine boards at the dimensions specified in the bidding requests for $7,125. The other company to submit a bid for lumber, New England Forest Products in Greenfield, offered red oak timber boards for $9,300, with an overall bid of $10,900. A & B Lumber’s bid submission was $2,925 cheaper than New England Forest Product’s bid, according to memorandum summarizing the bids town officials made available Thursday.

Select Board member Scott Carbee said at the meeting Thursday that red oak is more durable than Southern yellow pine, but evidently a lot more expensive. Yellow pine was specified by Paige and Henry Kunhardt, a Francestown engineering volunteer who helped design plans for the bridge, as a type of lumber to target. Carbee said in a phone interview Monday that yellow pine will not be salvageable once the temporary bridge is taken down.

For construction, Hansen Bridge came in $505 cheaper than the other bid received by the town, sent by Andrews Construction of Campton. But it wasn’t so much the money as it was efficiency that made the difference for the Select Board. Hansen Bridge had the edge in suggesting the use of a crane to place the steel beams and multiple excavators for removing road material.

Hansen will use a link belt crane to put the 62-foot steel beams in place that will span the length of the bridge, rather than use an excavator. It’s a better option to use the crane, Carbee said Thursday and Branley reiterated Monday.

“To me using a crane is a no-brainer,” Carbee said. “We thought trying to do it with an excavator wasn’t the way to go.”

The Select Board also liked the proposal of using two excavators at once on either side of the bridge to remove road materials. Although there are more mobilization costs, Hansen’s bid still came in as the cheaper option.

The only drawback, selectmen noted at the meeting, was that Hansen wouldn’t be able to start working until May 13. But with the approximate five-week wait for lumber, the board didn’t see it as much of an issue.

“Gary will want to meet with Hansen before they make any decisions going forward,” Branley said about Francestown Highway’s role in construction.

Francestown Sand and Gravel did not submit a bid for construction for the bridge project.

“Kris doesn’t want anything to do with it,” Carbee said in a phone interview Monday.

Stewart could not be reached for comment by press time.

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