U.S. Army Corps Opened Dredging Bids Today, but Award Delayed Due to Wide Variance

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District opened three dredging bids today and announced that RLB Contracting, Inc., was the apparent low bidder in the amount of $33,988,050.00 for emergency dredging of the West Fork of the San Jacinto River.

This giant sandbar almost completely blocks the west fork of the San Jacinto River just downstream from River Grove Park. It is one of the shoals that the Corps will remove to restore channel capacity.

Scope and Duration of Project

“This emergency project funded by FEMA involves the removal of 1.8 million cubic yards of material within 270 days,” said Curtis Cole, a contracting official with the USACE Galveston District’s Contracting Division. Cole said there will be a bid and pre-award verification phase with the awardee prior to officially awarding the contract. ”

Pre-Award Verification Needed Due to Wide Variance in Dredging Bids

“Pre-award verification allows the Corps to exercise due diligence to verify awardees can meet the scheduling, production and resource requirements,” said Don Carelock, a USACE Galveston District Chief of Construction. “Once we perform our analysis, a recommendation will be announced to our contracting officials.”  Carelock said this process is expected to take between 10-14 days.

During the public opening, three bids were received: CrowderGulf submitted a bid in the amount of $108,887,733.33 and Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company bid totaled $69,814,060. RLB Contracting, Inc. was announced as the apparent lowest bid of $33,988,050.00. Here is a breakdown of dredging bids.

Purchasing agents in many industries expect that if bidders work off the same specs and have comparable capabilities, bids should come in within 10-20% of each other. Often they come in much closer. In this case, the difference between the high and low bidder was more than 3X, a result that merits verification before awarding the contract.

Restoring to Pre-Harvey Conditions

Under provisions of the Stafford Disaster Relief Act of 1988, FEMA responded to a request from the State of Texas and directed the Corps to begin the initial assessment for the Emergency Project.

Corps officials have stated the FEMA funding scope of the project allows for debris and dredge activity that restores the area to it’s pre-Harvey flood conditions. The project is limited in scope and does not include operations beyond the west fork of the San Jacinto area.

Corps survey teams from the New Orleans District began collecting data in April to determine the level of shoaling and silt accumulation within the West Fork of the San Jacinto River. A six-phase value engineering study was completed in May.

Posted 6/22/2018 by Bob Rehak

297 Days from Hurricane Harvey