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Council mulls $4.7M in improvements to Division Street 

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The city of Springfield is looking at improving the stretch of Division Street between National and Glenstone avenues, and the lowest bid for the project came in more than a half-million dollars under the city-contracted engineer’s estimate for the project. 

At its meeting last night, City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance to approve plans for the project and to enter into a contract with the low bidder, Springfield-based Hartman and Co. Inc. Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc. conducted the estimate.

Hartman and Co.’s bid was just under $4.7 million, and the project estimate was over $5.2 million. 

The project, if approved by council April 18, will widen the three drive lanes of Division Street while adding an upgraded stormwater system, 5-foot-wide sidewalks on the north side and a multipurpose trail on the south side, according to the council ordinance. 

“If you’ve driven that, you’ve noticed that the road is basically worn out,” said Dan Smith, director of Public Works, when speaking to council members. “Pavement is in terrible condition, but really the sidewalks are not good, stormwater is not good, so this project would basically rebuild the entire thing.” 

Three bids were submitted for the project. The other two were from Radmacher Brothers Excavating Co. Inc. of Pleasant Hill, with a bid of just under $5.4 million, and D&E Plumbing and Heating Inc. of Nixa, with a bid of just under $5.5 million. 

“We did get three bidders, so we were very pleased with that,” Smith said. “You can see that the low bid is under the engineer’s estimate, so we were very thankful for that. We think these are good market bids.” 

Funds for improvements will come from the quarter-cent capital improvements sales tax and is already budgeted, and $1.1 million will be appropriated from the eighth-cent transportation sales tax reserves. The explanation of the council bill, provided by Martin Gugel, assistant director of Public Works, notes the latter tax fund provides additional money due to the increasing cost of construction in the current market as a result of inflation and supply shortages. 

Smith addressed the issue with council. 

“In this current market environment, we are seeing higher prices, with issues with supply chain, inflation, just the busyness of contractors,” he said. “We are seeing prices go up, but at the same time, we do believe this is a good bid.” 

Smith said his office is examining all projects across the quarter- and eighth-cent sales tax lists in light of inflation and other factors. 

“We’re updating our estimates, looking at our reserves, just making sure that we’re able to complete and meet those commitments,” Smith said. “As we’re doing that, this is causing us concern, but we’re at a place that we can make it work.” 

Smith cautioned that this may not be the case if inflation lingers. 

He said, “Now, if we see inflation going at 8% for several years, I might have a different message, but at the moment, actually, I think we’re in a good place.” 

In addition to sales tax funds, the project will be paid for with over $720,000 in gas and water utility improvements that will be reimbursed by City Utilities of Springfield, reducing the city cost to about $4 million. 

The legislation requires that workers be paid prevailing wages. 

According to Gugel’s explanation, the project would support four council priorities: public safety, economic vitality, quality of place and fiscal sustainability. The project is recommended by the Public Works staff. 

Hartman & Co.’s bid document states the project will be completed in just under a year after a contract is signed. 

Mayor Ken McClure said the project is much needed, and Councilperson Abe McGull agreed. 

“I have received numerous complaints about the road,” McGull said, asking that his name be added to Councilperson Heather Hardinger’s as sponsor of the bill. 

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