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Zignego, Walsh win I-94 jobs

Dustin Block
dustin.block@dailyreporter.com

Zignego Co. Inc. turned in its bid to rebuild a portion of Interstate 94 through Racine County with just five minutes to spare Tuesday.

The final tweaks paid off. The Waukesha road builder’s $19.63 million plan was the low bid by about $70,000.

“It was very hectic,” said Dan Zignego, the company’s controller. “There was a lot of last minute quoting and numbers flying around from the subs.”

Zignego beat out Michels Corp., Brownsville, by less than 0.5 percent.

The I-94 contract was one of two major stimulus projects the Wisconsin Department of Transportation had up for bid Tuesday.

Walsh Construction Co., Chicago, was the low bidder on I-94 work through Kenosha County. The Illinois road builder bid $60.2 million for the job, beating out a joint partnership group called I-94 Contractors LLC, Oak Creek, by about 1 percent.

WisDOT will review the contracts this week and also could award the jobs this week, Zignego said.

Six prime contractors bid on the two jobs, which are scheduled to begin work on May 18. Federal stimulus money allowed WisDOT to accelerate work on its plans to expand I-94 from six to eight lanes from the Mitchell Interchange in Milwaukee County south to the Illinois border.

The project also calls for rebuilding frontage roads and interchanges along the interstate.

John Christiansen, president of Super Western Inc., worked with Super Excavators Inc., Menomonee Falls, to bid on the Racine County work. The companies finished third in the bidding, about $1.2 million more than Zignego’s bid.

“We thought we were really tough on it (the bid),” Christiansen said. “I guess we weren’t tough enough.”

He said having two major projects due on the same day created a difficult bidding environment. The company worked with three to eight subcontractors on hundreds of individual bid items when working to pull together its final offer.

“Without computers, it wouldn’t be possible,” Christiansen said.

Zignego described a chaotic Tuesday morning as the company worked to put together its plan. With $20 million of work on the line, company officials were under a lot of stress.

“It’s extremely difficult to make decisions on large dollar amounts with so little time,” Zignego said. “It’s somewhat disconcerting to do that.”

The close bids between first and second place indicated the companies went as low as possible. He said tough competition plus high-quality companies resulted in WisDOT getting a good deal on the work.

“Everything was squeezed out of it,” Zignego said. “That’s what close bidding indicates.”

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