PITTSBURG — The lowest bid for the Highway 69 Project came in approximately $6 million below estimates Wednesday.

The Kansas Contractors Association announced five bids for the Highway 69 Project. Koss Construction Company of Topeka — the only in-state bidder — had the lowest bid at $20,354,814.87.

Senator Jake LaTurner and representatives from Midwest Minerals listened to the bids via conference call at the Midwest Mineral Offices in Pittsburg.

The bid is for a six-mile stretch from the four-lane south of Fort Scott to the border of Bourbon and Crawford counties, which serves as the first phase of the project. The first phase was previously slated to start in the spring of 2017 and end in winter 2018, but Midwest Minerals President Steve Sloan said those dates will likely move up.

“We will probably see heavy construction being started in late November, early December,” Sload said.

The Highway 69 Project was one of 25 Kansas Department of Transportation projects that were delayed indefinitely, and the only one to be reinstated. LaTurner said he will use the low bids to keep the project moving forward.

“That will be my argument to KDOT,” LaTurner said. “That we take that leftover $6 million and keep paving road.”

He said he will also send a letter to Governor Sam Brownback requesting that the $6 million be used to continue the project.

Sloan said KDOT will review submitted contracts and hopefully officially award the contract to Koss Construction in two to three weeks.

“There is a history of southeast Kansas being overlooked by Topeka,” LaTurner said. “I think this is a 20-some million dollar step in the right direction.”

Other bids came in from Emery Sapp & Sons, Inc. of Springfield at $20.5 million; Duit Construction Company of Edmond, Oklahoma at $21.2 million; Clarkson Construction Company of Kansas City, Missouri at $22.3 million; and Chester Bross Construction of Palmyra, Missouri at $23.1 million.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.