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Moorhead Center Avenue bid 14% over estimate, but contract awarded

Northern Improvement is likely to start the four-block project next month.

Center Avenue Moorhead.jpg
Here is a photo ofCenter Avenue in the midst of Moorhead's downtown that runs past the Moorhead Center Mall last year.
Forum file photo
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MOORHEAD — Although it came in 14% above estimates, the lowest bid has been approved for the long-awaited reconstruction of four blocks of Center Avenue in downtown Moorhead.

The lowest of the five bids was for $5.4 million by Northern Improvement Co. of Fargo, which is about $640,000 over the city's estimate.

The main reason for the extra expense — accounting for about $500,000 — is an increased cost in truck transportation. Some construction materials, including electrical components, rely heavily on truck transportation.

Increased prices for those materials was also given as another reason for the higher bid.

The city's engineering department said despite the increased prices and scarcity of some construction materials, re-bidding would only result in further increased costs.

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One of the biggest items over estimates is $160,000 for new street lighting. Extra funding has been approved from reserves in the city's street light account.

The Moorhead City Council approved the overall bid on its consent agenda Monday, May 9.

Assistant City Engineer Tom Trowbridge said work will likely start in June, although an official start date hasn't been determined. The bridge from NP Avenue in Fargo to Center Avenue will be closed during construction, as well as portions of the avenue from the bridge to Eighth Street as work progresses.

The total cost of the project is $6.3 million, which includes fees and contingencies, with Minnesota state aid and a special grant paying almost $4 million of the project.

The city is preparing temporary access agreements with several business owners in the area during construction, which they and the council have agreed upon.

The project involves a new three-lane concrete roadway with on-street, parallel parking on the north side. There will also be new, wider sidewalks on both sides of the roadway with a bike path along the north side separated from the avenue by a landscaped buffer zone.

The new roadway is hoped to be a new focal point of the continued renovation of downtown Moorhead as the city looks ahead to new businesses, housing and possibly a new library and community center.

Related Topics: TRAFFIC AND CONSTRUCTION
An almost 50-year veteran of the newspaper business, Amundson has worked for The Forum and Forum News Service for 15 years. He started as a sport reporter in Minnesota. He is currently the city and night reporter for The Forum. bamundson@forumcomm.com 701-451-5665
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