When construction resumes on the widening of Craft Road north of the Lewisburg schools, there will be another company doing the work.
The DeSoto County Board of Supervisors Monday morning awarded the contract for Phase Two of the Craft Road Widening project, from south of Bethel Road to Harrier Drive East.
The contract was awarded to Acuff Enterprises, Inc. of Cordova, Tennessee at a bid price of $2,752,169.25.
The firm was not the lowest bid, however, as the company that handled Phase One of the project, Patton Construction, LLC of Pontotoc, bid a lower price at $2,675,331.35.
Board members went with Acuff Enterprises, Inc. as the lowest and best bid and representatives of Patton Construction were brought in to hear the board’s explanation.
“The lowest bid is not always the best bid, so we went to the second bidder on the project and awarded that, based on the past performance and the reference check on Patton Construction,” said Board President Mark Gardner.
Supervisors had a lengthy list of complaints about Patton Construction’s performance when Phase One was finished about two years ago.
Issues ranged from employees’ rude and verbal treatment of citizens on the construction site and rudeness to county employees in conversations concerning the project. Gardner pointed out that county equipment had to be brought in when the project was falling behind the timeline.
“If you know the area of Craft Road around Lewisburg schools, it would have been a disaster to have that (road) closed when school opened back up,” Gardner said. “We basically had to come in and bail the contractor out with county equipment in hauling fill material and gravel to the site just to get it open in time.”
Patton officials apologized for the issues but did say they were dealing with vehicles driving through barricades while they were on site that interrupted their work on the project.
But board members, upset with Patton’s treatment county residents, pointed out the company represents them on the job site and constituents should not have been treated the way they were.
“You represent us when you’re out there,” said Supervisor Michael Lee. “We were so looking forward to this job. It turned into a complete fiasco.”
Acuff Enterprises, Inc. is the same company currently working on the McIngvale Road project in Hernando, Gardner said.
“The area to be widened has extremely high traffic, as the enrollment at Lewisburg schools grows, the traffic on that road grows. We’re trying to stay ahead of that with this road expansion,” he pointed out.
Waggoner Engineering representative Tracy Huffman told supervisors in announcing the bids last week that the estimate for the project was set at about $4,024,502. Eight bids were received and all were under the engineer’s estimated cost. It is expected to take about 260 consecutive calendar days for the widening to be done, so once it starts, it will be impeding traffic to the schools for a period of time before completion.