(a) All work of construction and reconstruction of state roads and bridges, and the furnishing of all materials and supplies therefor, and for the repair thereof shall be done and furnished pursuant to contract, except that the commissioner may not be required to award any contract for work which can be done advantageously, economically and practicably by commission forces or prison labor and by use of state road equipment, or for materials and supplies, which are manufactured, processed or assembled by the commissioner: Provided, That the commissioner may not be required to award any contract for work, materials or supplies for an amount less than $3,000. In all the work, the commissioner shall utilize state road forces or prison labor and state road equipment and shall manufacture, process and assemble all the materials and supplies for the work whenever and wherever the commissioner, in his or her discretion, finds work and services advantageous, economical and practicable in the state road program.
(b) If the work is to be done, or the materials therefor are to be furnished by contract, the commissioner shall thereupon publish the following described advertisement as a Class II legal advertisement, in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for the publication shall be the county or municipality in which the road lies.
(c) The advertisement shall also be published at least once in at least one daily newspaper published in the city of Charleston and in other journals or magazines as may to the commissioner seem advisable. The advertisement shall solicit sealed proposals for the construction or other improvement of the road, and for the furnishing of materials therefor, accurately describing the same, and stating the time and place for opening the proposals and reserving the right to reject any and all proposals: Provided, That whenever the estimated amount of any contract for work or for materials or supplies is less than $3,000, the commissioner may not be required to advertise the letting of the contract in newspapers as above required, but may award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder, when two or more sealed proposals or bids have been received by him or her without the advertisement, but the contract may not be so awarded unless the bid of the successful bidder is $3,000 or less.
(d) The commissioner shall have the power to prescribe proper prequalifications of contractors bidding on state road construction work: Provided, That a vendor who has been debarred pursuant to the provisions of sections thirty-three-a through thirty-three-f, article three, chapter five-a of this code, may not bid on or be awarded a contract under this section.
(e) To all sealed proposals there shall be attached the certified check of the bidder or bidder's bond acceptable to the commissioner, in the amount as the commissioner shall specify in the advertisement, but not to exceed five percent of the aggregate amount of the bid; but the amount shall never be less than $5,00. The proposals shall be publicly opened and read at the time and place specified in the advertisement, and the contract for the work, or for the supplies or materials required therefor shall, if let, be awarded by the commissioner to the lowest responsible bidder for the type of construction selected.
(f) In case all bids be rejected, the commissioner may thereafter do the work with commission forces or with prison labor, or may readvertise in the same manner as before and let a contract for the work pursuant thereto.