J.C. Industries Inc. appears to be the low bidder on a project to rehabilitate the Route D bridge over the Gasconade River near Jerome.

Bids on the project were opened Friday. A total of five contractors, including J.C., submitted bids.

J.C. Industries submitted the apparent low bid of $397,778.75.

The second lowest bidder, R.V. Wagner Inc., was not far behind with a submitted bid of $398,134.01.

The other three bidders were Kozeny-Wagner, Inc., $521,509.57; APAC-Missouri, Inc., $585,440.61; and St. Louis Bridge Construction Company, $892,040.61.

Preston Kramer, area engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), said the department’s central office is reviewing the bids and will make a recommendation to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.

The commission is expected to award a contract at its March 6 meeting.

The rehab project will involve replacing damaged end bents, which are substructure piers that support each end of the bridge, to ensure the safety and integrity of the crossing and improve the support structure under the span.

The existing structure was built in 1996 with end bents that do not move, but the bents are breaking up because of expansion and contraction of the bridge caused by seasonal changes in temperature. The problem was discovered during MoDOT’s annual inspections, Kramer said.

Work also will involve removing and replacing a small portion of the road to provide access to the bent ends.

According to MoDOT, closure of the bridge is necessary to ensure proper rehabilitation. Allowing traffic on the bridge during construction would cause movement of the bridge and would hinder construction of the end bents.

Kramer estimated that the bridge would be closed for about 50 days but noted that MoDOT officials and the contractor may find ways to lower that amount.

Both end bents will be constructed at the same time not only to cut down on closure time but also to ensure a uniform, quality product.

In December, when a public meeting regarding the project was held, the proposed bridge closure dates mentioned were June 17 to Aug. 9, but since that meeting, Kramer said the starting closure date would likely be pushed back until after the Newburg R-II School District summer school session is over. The project is expected to be completed before school starts in the fall, Kramer added.

During the closure, MoDOT is suggesting travelers use Route 28 and Interstate 44 around the bridge. The detour length is about 28 miles.

Phelps County EMS and fire districts will work with emergency personnel in the Dixon area to help respond to incidents in that area.

The project to rehab the bridge was included in the 2013-17 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) approved by the commission in July 2012.