Stettler company gets contract for new Hwy #12 intersection

An intersection on Hwy 12 on the west end of Stettler has hit a snag. ECA Review/Submitted
Written by Stu Salkeld

A local Stettler company had their bid for building a new intersection on Hwy. #12 accepted by town council. The decision was made at the July 6 regular meeting of council.

Wally’s Backhoe Services bid $690,686.75 for the type 4 Hwy. 12 intersection on the west side of Stettler, stated Director of Operations Melissa Robbins in her report.

“Twenty Twenty-one capital budget approved project to build the south half of a type 4 intersection on Highway 12 at 80th Street for $600,000,” began Robbins in her memo to council.

“This project was previously tendered with a design speed of 50 km/hr. As presented at the June 15 town council meeting, the project was approved by Alberta Transportation at a 70 km/hr design, requiring a large scope change, and therefore all tenders were rejected. 

The project was redesigned and tendered again, closing June 30.” 

At the June 15 meeting Robbins had noted there was a substantial amount of interest in the project, as seven bids were received.

This time around it seemed the construction industry was almost as interested. “There was good activity for this tender,” said Robbins, noting five companies submitted bids for the project.

“The two lowest bidders are local bidders.” The other local company, Watson’s Welding, bid $612,139.71.

Robbins stated that because there was so much interest among bidders and many of the bids were quite close, engineers looked very closely at the bid amounts and the contractors themselves because of the importance of Hwy. #12 to Stettler.

“This project is large in scope and requires a very capable contractor with strong project management and past project experience,” stated Robbins in her memo to council, adding that tendered price, project experience and supervisory personnel were all carefully considered. 

With those criteria, the following scores were given: Wally’s Backhoe Services Ltd.(88.4/100), In-Line Contracting Partnership (75.1/100), Central City Asphalt (74.8/100), Ruby Rock Asphalt Works Ltd. (73.2/100 ) and Watson’s Welding (69.9/100).

“This location is a primary highway and is highly visible and public in nature,” stated Robbins. “Based on the tender evaluations, administration is recommending Wally’s Backhoe Services Ltd.”

Coun. Al Campbell stated the recommendation of awarding the tender to the second-lowest bid may infer the town isn’t giving new companies a chance to get some experience.

“To me it’s a little bit unfair that they make them so tough,” said Campbell, referring to the grading criteria.

Robbins stated that the low bidder on the Hwy. #12 project, Watson’s Welding, already has a project on the go with the Town of Stettler that isn’t complete and she preferred to wait for that one to be done.

Campbell asked if that philosophy would discourage some companies from bidding again. 

Robbins responded that she felt the recommendation to go with Wally’s Backhoe was solid given their previous experience.

Mayor Sean Nolls noted a contractor’s ability to work with traffic would be extremely important on Hwy. #12, given it’s busy location.

Coun. Wayne Smith stated he saw the way the bids were graded as being very thorough and very prudent and the formula compared apples to apples.

Robbins stated that the budget for the project was higher than expected, noting contingency funds of $69,000 would be needed plus $82,925.00 for engineering for a total budget expenditure of $842,611.75. 

Initial estimates at the June 15 meeting called for a rough project budget of $800,000.

Mayor Nolls stated it behooved the town to approve the contingency funds and move ahead with the new intersection. “It needs to happen,” said the mayor.

Councillors unanimously approved awarding the project to Wally’s Backhoe Service for $690,686.75 plus contingency and engineering for a total of $842,611.75.


Stu Salkeld, Local journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.