A bid from Knife River was the only one received for the mill and overlay project from Jefferson to the McCook Lake (Exit 4) on County Road 1B and was denied by the Union County Board of County Commissioners. The bid came in around $700,000 higher than the engineer’s estimate and what was budgeted.

“If you reject the one bid, they might not bid on it at all next year,” Union County Highway Superintendent Jerry Buum said. “Or if they do, it will be over three million.”

The $700,000 brings the total to $2.49 million for the project..

“There’s no way I can support that,” commissioner Kevin Joffer said. “I don’t think we should be hostage to a bid. I know we waited and put it off a year and I know that road isn’t that great. But, $700,000, I think we could put it off a little bit. I understand the concerns Jerry has, but this is one of those times where everybody’s got work and everybody is behind and maybe things will be different.”

The commissioners asked if there was any way to rebid it this year. Buum said probably not, as everyone will already have their work and won’t want to “come to the table.” Buum was then asked if his guys could patch some of the rough spots.

“Probably should, just to get it by,” Buum said. “If we’re not going to do the project, we’re going to have to do something.”

The commissioners approved the chairman’s signature on a work order for Johnson Engineering to redesign and detail plans for bridge 64-144-055; a contract with Ulteig Engineering, Inc. to replace bridge 64-074-203 with a box culvert; and signatures on a right-of-way certificate, utilities certificate and two agreements for voluntary right-of-way donations from Robin Heeren and Alvern and Marcella Buum. With the signature of the last right-of-way certificates and donations, once approved by the state, Ulteig can begin the bidding process. The commissioners also approved going with Ulteig for this year’s bridge inspections.

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.