Vero Beach Council approves $2M contract for runway restoration

VERO BEACH – Ranger Construction won a $2 million contract with the City of Vero Beach to restore the smaller, northern runway at the municipal airport.

The city will pay the contractor out of grant funds it received for the project from the Florida Department of Transportation. “This particular project is one that’s been a while in coming,” Airport Director Eric Menger told the council at a recent meeting, adding the funds have already been budgeted and approved for the work.

“They’ve been at the airport before,” Menger said of Ranger Construction, and added that the company has performed satisfactorily in the past.

Ranger Construction will be tasked with rehabilitating Runway 11L/29R, Taxiway F and their connectors. The company was the lowest of six bids for the work, which ranged from Ranger’s bid of $1.94 million to $2.78 million from E.J. Breneman.

Other companies that bid on the work included Dickerson Florida Inc., Community Asphalt, H&D Construction, and H&J Contracting.

All six bids came in lower than the city’s estimate for the work of $3.1 million.

“The significant difference can mostly be attributed to the current economic climate,” Aviation Project Manager Wesley Teel told Menger in correspondence pertaining to the bid evaluations. “Our research has revealed that contractors are ‘hungry’ and seem to be abandoning the inclusion within their bids of profit…”

Teel went on to tell Menger in the letter that contractors are, for the most part, foregoing profit in order to land a job to keep their workers employed.

Another reason the bids were lower than expected, Teel wrote, is that many of the manufacturers and suppliers of equipment and materials are cutting the prices on their items “in order to entice the business of contractors.”

“Of course, this approach benefits the city and other funding agencies tremendously,” Teel said.

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