The Kansas Department of Transportation opened bids on May 22 for the High Risk Rural Road Signing Project in Barton County. Four bids were received and the low bid of $104,700 was submitted by Martin Outdoor Enterprises based out of Pittsburg, Kansas.
Barton County Engineer Barry McManaman says the county used to handle this project and was reimbursed through federal money funneled through KDOT, but the federal government took away that option.
“They allowed us to use county forces to do the work and then they would reimburse us,” McManaman said. “My understanding is when the state and federal government got to looking at past history, the feds determined the state should not have been allowing that situation. A force account agreement would only allow an emergency response.”
The project is 100 percent funded by the State using Federal funds, but Barton County Commission Chair Jennifer Schartz feels it is still not the most cost effective way of handling the project.
“It’s a reflection of the federal government deciding a more expensive way to do it rather than allowing the county do our own work,” Schartz said. “I would have approached it differently and done it the most economical way for the taxpayer.”
The project will replace 467 signs on blacktops in the northern portion of Barton County.