Hiring goals under the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program were at the center of the lawsuit.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will pay $300,000 to C.S. McCrossan Construction Inc. as part of a settlement in a suit the Maple Grove-based contractor filed after the agency rejected its low bid for work on a portion of the St. Croix bridge project.
McCrossan had submitted a bid nearly $6 million lower than the one that was awarded, but MnDOT gave the job to another firm because McCrossan hadn’t shown it would comply with minority and women hiring rules under the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. In an order signed Monday by state Chief Appeals Court Judge Matthew Johnson, McCrossan agreed to end its suit claiming the bid was improperly rejected.
MnDOT awarded a $58.1 million bid for the contract to partners Ames Construction Inc. and Lunda Construction Co. to complete approach work on the bridge. McCrossan’s proposal of $52.3 million was lowest and also got the best technical score under a MnDOT rating system.
The approach work on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River, which is underway, includes frontage road changes along Hwy. 36 and an interchange on Hwy. 95. Ames/Lunda was awarded the contract because it met MnDOT’s goal of having 16.7 percent of the project’s subcontractors classed as firms owned by women or minorities. McCrossan’s bid had secured about 10.7 percent of DBE subcontractor participation, and MnDOT maintained that McCrossan did not follow the instructions. McCrossan, however, argued that it made clear to MnDOT that as the project progressed, it would meet those DBE goals.