PaintSquare.com
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

Advertisement

PaintSquare


Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Low Bidders Sue MnDOT over Award

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Comment | More

The losing bidders for a $100 million interstate highway construction project in Minnesota have asked the state's Court of Appeals to review the bidding process for the award, which went to the highest bidder.

Minnesota's Department of Transportation (MnDOT) awarded the Interstate 35E MnPASS design/build project to Ames Construction Inc. in the spring, although its bid was $11 million more than that of low bidder McCrossan Construction.

MnDOT's Technical Review Committee selected the Ames proposal for the Twin Cities project on the basis of "Apparent Best Value."

Ames Construction project
Ames Construction Inc.

The contract was awarded on an "Apparent Best Value" basis to Ames Construction Inc., whose projects include Colorado's U.S. 36 Express Lanes Project.

The award drew a formal protest Aug. 19 from McCrossan Construction and the other bidder, Lunda/Shafer Joint Venture. The losing bidders alleged that MnDOT "did not follow the requirements in the Instructions to Proposers" (ITP) and that the Technical Review Committee "did not apply the explicit criteria set forth in the Instruction to Proposers when scoring the proposals."

Irregularities Cited

The bidders alleged, for example, that:

  • Bidders were limited to 120 days during which they could restrict the shoulders on two stretches of I-35, yet Ames' proposal restricted the shoulder on one of those strectches for more than 300 days;
  • Bidders were required to obtain approval for any design changes through the Alternative Technical Concept (ATC) process and could include an ATC in their bid only if MnDOT had approved it in advance. Ames' proposal "did not comply withthe instructions," the bidder said; and
  • Evaluators did not adhere to the Technical Proposal Evaluation Manual in scoring the proposals, "not holding Ames to the criteria set forth in the bid documents" and thus giving that company "a substantial advangage not enjoyed by other bidders."

Protest Recommendation

MnDOT's Protest Official, Kent Allin, conceded in his Protest Recommendation that Minnesota's Instructions to Proposers and Technical Proposal Evaluation Manual contained "inconsistent language," but Allin said that "technical error" did not result "in any material inequality."

McCrossan Construction
C.S. McCrossan Construction

Plaintiff and losing bidder C.S. McCrossan Construction says it submitted the lowest bid and achieved the highest technical score in the state's evaluation. The company's projects include Highway 14 in Waseca, MN.

Allin also noted that MnDOT had declined to comment to his office on its scoring protocol, a response that "was simply not helpful." But again, he said, the non-response "does not equate to anything that would make the selection process arbitrary or capricious."

He also noted that MnDOT acknowledged two deviations from the RFP requirements and said he found the "conflict and varying language" in the procurement documents "troubling."

But he added that it was "impossible to expect there could ever be a procurement process of this size and complexity that does not involve a single deviation from an RFP requirement outside the ATC process."

In the end, Allin concluded that the selection of Ames followed more than 1,200 hours of evaluation and "was conducted in a manner that was reasoned and fair."

On Sept. 17, Minnesota Commission of Transportation Charles A. Zelle accepted Allin's recommendations and reaffirmed the award to Ames.

Appeals Petition

The plaintiffs allege in their Statement of the Case, filed Monday (Oct. 14), that MnDOT "acted arbitrarily or capriciously or otherwise contrary to law in awarding the contract to Ames."

Lexington Bridge
Wikimedia Commons / Todd Murray

The Lexington Bridge, completed in 2004, carries I-35 East over the Mississippi River into St. Paul, MN.

The suit seeks an “immediate injunction to halt further work while the courts determine if the department acted properly in awarding the bid to a company with a lower technical score and [higher] price tag" than McCrossan's.

McCrossan said in a news release that MnDOT "improperly applied federal rules when it comes to the hiring of disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE)" and that McCrossan's bid was "the only proposal that fit within the state's budget for the project, as well as the bid with the highest technical score."

   

Tagged categories: Bidding; Bridges; Construction; Contracts; DOT; Government contracts; Lawsuits; Roads/Highways

Comment from peter gibson, (10/17/2013, 11:33 AM)

I love this story. In Europe bidding is on the best bid principle. In the US contractors are scrambling to offer the lowest bid. With the consequences thereof. Now the whining begins.


Comment from John Fauth, (10/18/2013, 9:03 AM)

"Best" is a relative term.


Comment from WAN MOHAMAD NOR WAN ABDUL RAHMAN, (10/18/2013, 9:34 AM)

I believed that the tender board have evaluated the bidding according to procedures. Nowadays we cannot please everybody.


Comment from M. Halliwell, (10/18/2013, 12:14 PM)

I must admit there is something to the Dutch system....knock off the high and low bids and go for the one closest to the middle for what's left. Knocks off the most likely outliers and (hopefully) puts you middle of the road in balancing inexpensive with safe.


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
SABRE Autonomous Solutions
 
Repeatability
 
The ALPHA1 provides reliable results consistently allowing you to cost your next job with confidence.
 

 
Safway Services
 
Safeguard Assets. Ensure Productivity. HAKI®
 
Protect assets and equipment. Keep facilities open and operational. Maintain schedules regardless of weather. Ensure smooth and continuous production. Easy to erect. Safway is the primary distributor of HAKI® products including HAKISPAN and HAKITEC® 750 – in North America.
 

 
Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
 
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!
 
CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.
 

 
SAFE Systems, Inc.
 
SAFE Systems'
Blast Lights &
Deadman Switches
 
Halogen or LED blast lights available with our NEW urethane bumper. Switches available in many colors for color coding your hoses.
 

 
W Abrasives
 
How to reduce your blasting cost ?
 
W Abrasives is able to reduce the global blasting cost to its customers by offering specific ranges of products and technical support dedicated to their application.
 

 
HoldTight Solutions Inc.
 
NO FLASH RUST - NO CONTAMINANTS
 
Our HoldTight®102 salt remover & flash rust
preventer prevents flash
rust by removing surface contaminants. Contact us
for your nearest distributor.
(800) 319.8802 sales@holdtight.com
 

 
Abrasives Inc.
 
The New Look of Black Magic®
 
Black Magic® “The tough stuff” coal slag has a fresh new look. CARB & QPL approved. Call us. Order some today. Abrasives Inc. 800-584-7524
 

 
Termarust Technologies
 
Termarust (HR CSA) Chemically Stops
Active Corrosion
 
Arch truss treated with Termarust's (HR CSA) in 2003. This steel arch bridge is rust free on all surfaces including the crevice corroded joints and connections.
 

 
KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office
 
New KTA Pipeline Inspection Kit
 
• Defelsko standard memory body
• Positector FTS 0-250 mils, cabled dry film thickness probe
• NEW Positector Shore D hardness probe
• All essential inspection equipment!
Visit www.ktagage.com
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@paintsquare.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us