It appears the City of Ottawa might not have to spend any city dollars on the construction phase of the K-68 and Davis Road improvement project.

The low bid of $1,227,436.92 submitted by Ottawa-based Killough Construction Inc. is nearly $234,000 below the Kansas Department of Transportation’s maximum commitment of $1,461,000 for construction of the project, Andy Haney, the city’s public works director, said.

Ottawa city commissioners are expected to approve Killough’s low bid at their 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa.

Haney reviewed the three construction bids, which recently were opened, with city commissioners during their special study session Thursday, as well as went over the drawings for the project. Thursday’s study session took the place of the city’s regularly scheduled study session Monday, which has been canceled because of New Year’s Eve. City offices also will be closed Tuesday in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.

The K-68 and Davis Road improvement project will add turning lanes — on the north side of K-68 as well as on Davis Road — and a traffic signal at the busy intersection. The project also will include sidewalks along K-68 and Davis Road at and near the intersection, as well as improvements to the stormwater drainage system at the intersection. The widening of K-68 on the north side of the highway also will allow a wider turning radius for trucks accessing the Ottawa Industrial Park, Haney said.

City commissioners noted the project would include extending sidewalks, with commissioner Jeff Richards saying he was pleased to see the sidewalk extension on the south side of K-68 — from the K-68 and Davis Road intersection — would connect with the sidewalk that currently ends at Neosho County Community College’s eastern property line at K-68 and Cottonwood Street.

Under the project agreement, KDOT has pledged to cover up to $1,461,000 of the construction costs. KDOT engineers also designed the improvements for the intersection, in consultation with the city. KDOT also covered those engineering costs.

Haney told commissioners the city would be responsible for the cost of securing easements and moving city utilities — which already has taken place. He previously estimated the city’s cost of the project would be about $150,000.

If change orders are necessary during the project and lead to construction cost increases, Haney said, it appears about 19 percent ($233,563.10) of the funds KDOT has allocated for the project would be available to accommodate those additional costs — based on the wiggle room left by Killough Construction’s low bid.

The City of Ottawa would have to cover any construction costs that would exceed KDOT’s allotted $1,461,000 for the project, Haney said.

Haney and Richard Nienstedt, city manager, praised KDOT for their assistance with the project and said the agency has been “very accommodating” to the city. Commissioners also credited state Sen. Pat Apple, R-Louisburg, for his assistance in lobbying for the project. Apple formerly represented Ottawa for eight years, before the legislative district boundaries were redrawn earlier this year.

The low bid submitted by Killough Construction Inc., 3633 U.S. 59, Ottawa, came in well under the other two bids, submitted by Shawnee-based Freeman Concrete Construction, LLC ($1,711,225.00) and Garnett-based TL Enterprises Inc. ($1,988,887.61), Haney said.

Once the contract is awarded, Haney said, the contractor would set the schedule for the project, which likely would get underway in the spring. City officials previously had estimated the work would take four to five months to complete, but Haney told commissioners Thursday he could not give them a definite time frame until after he had met with KDOT officials and the contractor.

Haney recommended to commissioners that the contract be awarded to low bidder Killough Construction.

Doug Carder is senior writer for The Herald. Email him at