Iowa DOT holds special bid letting for Black Hawk Bridge replacement project

The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) held a special bid letting for the replacement of the Black Hawk Bridge Tuesday, August 1. The project is anticipated to begin with initial site preparation work as early as this September and will continue through the year 2026, according to Field Services Coordinator Pete Hjelmstad of the Iowa DOT’s District 2 Office located in Mason City.

According to Iowa DOT documentation, a total of five bids were received for the project. Those bids ranged from an apparent low bid of $124,300,933.00 from Kraemer North America, LLC headquartered in Plain, WI to a high-end bid of $175,035,021.15 from Cramer & Associates/United Contractors Inc., with Cramer & Associates being headquartered in Grimes, IA. Other bids received included $136,758,066.30 from Michels Road & Stone, Inc./Michels Construction, Inc. headquartered in Brownsville, WI, $139,290,256.73 from Lunda Construction Co. out of Black River Falls, WI, and $163,600,000.50 from American Bridge Company headquartered out of Pittsburgh, PA.

Noting Kraemer North American, LLC as the project’s apparent low bidder, Hjelmstad said that same company had built the U.S. Hwy. 52-Illinois Hwy. 64 bridge over the Mississippi River that connects Sabula, IA to Savanna, IL in the central eastern cone shape of Iowa’s eastern border, just north of Davenport. He noted that bridge was opened in November of 2017 and was a project led by the State of Illinois DOT.

Hjelmstad said the next step in the process is to review the bids received before awarding the project contract, a process that could take up to a month but is not anticipated to do so, he noted. Once the contract is signed and returned, a pre-construction meeting will take place that will further outline the construction timeline, with Hjelmstad emphasizing that there are, understandably, a lot of points to consider with both roadway and waterway aspects involved.

“We would anticipate that there will be crews moving in to begin site preparation work in September or October of this year,” Hjelmstad shared. “Work will continue right on through the winter months on some aspects of the project, with an anticipated project completion date being in late 2026.”

Hjelmstad further shared that the expectation at this point will be that the dismantling of the current bridge will likely take place in the fall of 2026. He also speculated that the initial plan at this point is to only have the bridge crossing at Lansing closed to traffic for a period of two weeks while the transition is made from the current bridge to its replacement.

“We’ve worked really hard to try and get that time frame minimized,” Hjelmstad said of the bridge closure. “We know how important that crossing is, and that it’s quite a distance to the nearest crossings, so we want to try and minimize the impact of that bridge closure.”