Southland Construction has emerged from a crowd of 11 building companies as the apparent low bidder for a $25 million-plus project to turn S.R. 46 in Sanford from a so-called rural road to and urban one, by expanding it from two to four lanes.
The Apopka firm's $26.5 million bid beat out 10 other companies to be the project's general contractor, with the award to be finalized in a couple of months as long as the elements of the company's bid pass muster with two Florida Department of Transportation committees.
One committee will make sure Southland's proposal meets bid specifications, and the other will review the technical specifics of the proposal to see whether it is viable and complete.
Preparing a proposal for a low bid project requires walking a fine line between coming in at a low cost, while providing high quality.
"We have requirements to meet certain criteria, and we also have to consider our bid," said Joe Raucci, vice president at Southland Construction.
The big turnout of construction companies was spurred in part by the type of project being undertaken, a relatively uncomplicated mandate to lay down less than three miles of roadway on S.R. 46, between Mellonville Avenue and S.R. 415.
The job is not without its challenges, though. Tons of dirt have to be brought in to firm up land that one DOT representative described as "muck." Also, a detour road must be built to allow traffic flow during construction.
In tandem, or ahead of the widening, the City of Sanford will be spending an estimated $3.4 million to dig up and re-lay water pipes that are in FDOT right-of-way along S.R. 46.
When complete, the stretch of S.R. 46 will not only have two new lanes, it will also have six-foot-wide bicycle lanes in each direction, a five-foot-wide sidewalk along the south side and an eight-foot sidewalk along the north side.
And the two sides of S.R. 46, east bound and west bound, will be separated by a 22-foot grass median.