County moves closer to switch for engineering services

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 9/27/23

HERMANN — The Gasconade County Commission Thursday morning edged closer to selecting a new consulting engineering firm by hearing from three more companies. Representatives of two other …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

County moves closer to switch for engineering services


HERMANN — The Gasconade County Commission Thursday morning edged closer to selecting a new consulting engineering firm by hearing from three more companies. Representatives of two other engineering companies outlined their qualifications earlier to the Commission.

County administrators are looking to do business with a new engineering company, cutting ties with longtime consultant Archer-Elgin of Rolla. Archer-Elgin does engineering work for a number of other local government entities, such as the cities of Hermann and Owensville. The County Commission felt a change was needed after it took an unusually long time to close out the new-bridge project on Valentine Ford Road.

That process was delayed in part by extra work needed at the site after the bridge was built. A design flaw by the project engineer was cited as a contributing reason for the additional work that was done to prevent water flooding the county highway leading to the new bridge.

Archer-Elgin also is involved in work on the proposed elevator for the courthouse. That project, too, has taken longer to move forward than county administrators had hoped.

The engineering companies that have met recently with the Commission were responding to a formal Request For Qualifications that was issued by the county regarding the construction of a new bridge on Rohlfing Road. However, the companies’ qualification information also will be considered for work on construction of new buildings planned at the Sheriff’s Department substation in Swiss and at the Road Department in Drake.

Those projects initially were proposed at the same time the Commission decided to move forward with the elevator, but later they were set aside when it was decided that the elevator project and restoration work to the courthouse exterior should move forward at the same time.

The Rohlfing Road project recently was announced by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and will be replaced through the state’s BRO (Bridge Replacement-Offsystem) program. Under this program, MoDOT provides about 80 percent of the funds needed to construct a bridge with the local government providing the remaining money.

Representatives of the companies meeting with the Commission all said they are familiar with the BRO program.

Mike Purol of Hutcheson Engineering, headquartered in Illinois with offices in Missouri, said, “We’re doing a lot of county bridge work in Missouri.” He noted that Hutcheson did the engineering work for Montgomery County’s new 911 Center.

A resident of Monroe City in Northeast Missouri, Purol said he would be the local contact for any work with Gasconade County. And, he said, he’s familiar with the Rolfing Road bridge that will be replaced.

“We’ve looked at this structure,” he said.

Jeff Banderet of Great River Engineering said his company is working on many BRO projects for counties.

“We’re currently doing 30 BROs,” he said. “We feel our greatest accomplishment is working with counties…and rural counties in particular,” he added.

Great River Engineering is headquartered in Springfield and has just opened an office in Jefferson City, Banderet said. That office will be staffed mostly with retired MoDOT employees. Another Great River office in St. Louis has five staffers that can be called upon if necessary. There are 35 employees at company headquarters, he said, including 10 surveyors. The company is working now on projects in Cole, Phelps and other Mid-Missouri counties. Great River is doing work for about 50 counties in the state, he said.

David Christensen and Sally Bothmann-Bartnett of Cochran Engineering in Union explained that the company has done work for a long time in neighboring Franklin County, such as engineering the new Franklin County Jail. Cochran also was the engineering firm involved in the renovation of Audrain County’s historic courthouse.

Christensen noted that Cochran has worked for many municipalities, but is beginning to do more work for county governments, noting that the company is involved in a project for Warren County.

“We work with a lot of municipalities, but we’re working with counties. We’re kind of moving into county business,” he said.

At its Sept. 14 session, the Commission heard from Shannon Howe of Howe Engineering and Aaron McVicker of McClure Engineering.

With Southern District Associate Commissioner Jerry Lairmore, R-Owensville, on vacation, Presiding Commissioner Tim Schulte, R-Hermann, and Northern District Associate Commissioner Jim Holland, R-Hermann, said they would not move to select an engineering firm until all three administrators had considered and discussed the information provided by the various companies.