City Council: Public works bids for Flagg Road and 20th Street project rejected

City Council: Public works bids for Flagg Road and 20th Street project rejected

By Jeff Helfrich, Editor-in-Chief

ROCHELLE — At its meeting Monday, the Rochelle City Council voted unanimously to reject all bids received for a proposed development and utility relocation at the intersection of Flagg Road and 20th Street because of high prices. The city plans to revive the project at a later date.

Last year, the city and Ogle County entered into an intergovernmental agreement to begin engineering design and eventual reconstruction of the intersection. It was determined that the new intersection footprint would be significantly larger to accommodate the new transportation and pedestrian improvements. Several utilities, including Rochelle Municipal Utilities’ overhead electric and fiber optic utilities installed more than 17 years ago, will need to be relocated as part of the project before any construction can begin.

The city received four bids for the project. The lowest bid was from Helm Electric Facility Solutions at $267,437, and the others were bid between $528,155 and $819,694. On June 10, Helm Electric withdrew its bid due to mathematical errors in the bid elements. The city reserves the right to draw on the bid bond submitted by Helm to pay for expenses associated with rebidding the project due to the errors and the withdrawal of the bid.

The lowest bid was more than 40% higher than the engineer’s estimate for the project, prompting the city to reject all bids. The original completion date for the utility adjustments was early September, but that will be extended until later in 2024.

“You never know what you’re going to get with a new tender,” said Sam Tesreau, city engineer. “The price could be higher or lower. But I can’t in good faith recommend a bid this time that’s more than 40 percent higher than the engineer’s estimate.”


The city unanimously approved a bid of $1,545,544 from Helm Civil for a roadway rehabilitation project at Creston Road and Caron Road. The city received four bids for the work and Helm Civil was the lowest bidder and four percent below the engineer’s estimate.

The project is funded with approximately $1.3 million through federal STU and COVID-19 Relief grants, as well as available City Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds administered by IDOT. The project spans more than two miles in length, and primarily consists of the removal and replacement of a major HMA base and surface as well as new HMA shoulders and will extend along Creston Road from the Interstate 39 overpass to Caron Road and north along Caron Road to the 7th Avenue intersection. The project is expected to begin in August and be substantially complete by the end of October.

Waterproofing coating

The council unanimously approved a bid of $314,320 from Helm Civil for its annual work sealing the city’s streets. Helm Civil was the only bid received and was five percent lower than the engineer’s estimate.

The city’s road department crews will be responsible for repairing asphalt pavements, repairing edges and thin layers, preparing the surface and sweeping before applying the seal coat. This work will cost a maximum of $58,000.

Streets sealed this year will include sections of North 9th Street, North 8th Street, North 6th Street, North 3rd Street, North 2nd Street, West 9th Avenue, West 8th Avenue, West 7th Avenue, West 5th Avenue, Cherry Avenue, North Main Street, Meadow Lane, Turkington Terrace, Brookside Drive, Crest Lane, Springdale Drive, Sunnymeade Drive, Short Court, Fairview Drive and Tilton Manor Drive.


At the meeting, the council heard a presentation and approved its audit for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2023. The city’s annual audit was conducted by Sikich LLP and the city received a clear, unmodified opinion, the highest level possible.

“Having 10 months of reserve funds available says a lot about everyone in our departments, our department heads, the city manager and the city council,” said Mayor John Bearrows. “I think it means we’re very good stewards of money. When I came in, it looked like we had 2 to 3 months of reserves. To have 10 months of reserves now seems like a big improvement.”

Taking the oath

During the meeting, a swearing-in ceremony was held for Rochelle Police Department Officer Aaron Rodabaugh, who was promoted to the rank of patrol sergeant. RPD Detective Sergeant John Kaltenbach will soon retire and his position will be filled by Detective Sergeant William Haan. Rodabaugh will fill Haan’s position. Rodabaugh joined the department in 2001.