The apparent low bid for the first phase of the Carroll County airport expansion project came in about 35 percent below the engineer's estimate when bids were opened yesterday.
The bid was about $3 million less than the estimated $8.74 million projected cost.
"We got some beautiful prices," said J. Michael Evans, the county general services director. "There's some good bargains here, it looks like."
The bids were for the first phase of the airport expansion project, which includes lengthening a runway from 3,200 feet to 5,100 feet and the relocation of Meadow Branch Road.
Ten bids were received.
All of the bidders submitted bids on three alternative work packages.
The first package covers the entire first phase of the expansion, including the Meadow Branch Road relocation, site grading and paving the runway. The second package includes everything but the runway paving. The third includes only the road relocation and part of the grading work.
Dewey Jordan of Frederick was the apparent low bidder for all three packages. Not all of the bids have been confirmed.
The company bid $5,682,700 on the first package. The project engineer's estimate for it was $8,740,071. There was one other bid below $6 million and three more below $7 million. The high bid was $8,239,338.
For the second package, the engineer estimated a cost of $5,736,815. The apparent low bid was $3,236,506; the high bid was $5,836,917.
The engineer's estimate on the third package was $3,302,806. The apparent low bid was $1,988,210; the high bid was $3,434,342.
Mr. Evans said the county always hopes that the engineer's estimates are high.
Michael Kane, the project engineer who made the estimates, said that 1 1/2 to 2 years ago, during the recession, bids generally came in very low. Recently, he said, prices have crept up again.
He said he used more recent, higher prices as the basis for his cost estimates for the airport project.
The bids yesterday came in at a level "back to where they were almost three years ago," he said.