Two former West Virginia Division of Highways district engineers who formed a company earlier this year are the apparent low bidder for a consulting contract to help Highways with “coordination and oversight of the governor’s secondary road maintenance initiative.”
TB&RR, a Parkersburg-based limited liability company formed on May 23, was the lowest of four bidders for the 150-day consulting contract, at $199,050.
According to information on file at the secretary of state’s office, officers of the firm are James “Rusty” Roten, former Highways engineer/manager for District 3, based in Parkersburg, and Thomas Badgett, former acting Highways engineer/manager for District 6 in Moundsville. An office location or contact information for the new company could not be located Friday.
Other bidders were: Enco LLC of Pembroke, Florida, at $249,750; Ascent Consulting and Engineering of Clarksburg, $264,600; and S&ME Inc. of Raleigh, North Carolina, $600,000.
The bids will have to be reviewed by Highways officials before the contract is awarded.
Bid opening for the request for quotes for the consulting services contract had been pushed back one day, to Friday.
Specifications required the winning firm to have a minimum of two employees with at least 15 years experience and “extensive knowledge of the Highways department management structure and operations; Highways personnel needs; budgeting and project management; governmental and legislative affairs; knowledge of equipment used for highways maintenance activities, and private sector contractors for highways maintenance.”
It indicates that the winning bidder will be expected to travel extensively statewide to coordinate with both district and county Highways offices regarding “roadway maintenance, status of road projects and related equipment needs,” and will also travel extensively to meet with private contractors and industry representatives.
Winning bidders will also be expected to consult with state Transportation Secretary Byrd White and Highways Commissioner Jimmy Wriston regarding “activities, complaints, issues and observations regarding roadways,” and to serve as the agency’s liaison with the Legislature and the Governor’s Office.
In March, responding to widespread criticism statewide about the poor condition of state secondary roads, Gov. Jim Justice announced an initiative placing a new emphasis on repairing and maintaining crumbling secondary roads, stating, “I want stuff done. That’s all there is to it. The bottom line is, we’re not getting the maintenance done.”
Prior to the announcement, Justice fired then-Transportation secretary Tom Smith, a 37-year veteran of the Federal Highways Administration, replacing him with White, a longtime friend and business associate with limited background in road building or maintenance.