The lone bid to fix the bridge on Starke County Road 700 East over the Yellow River came in significantly higher than county officials had anticipated. LaPorte Construction bid $106,872 for the emergency repair. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says that figure is between $50,000 and $60,000 more than he had budgeted for the work. As a result, repairs that were to begin today and be finished by Aug. 15 have been delayed indefinitely.
The road has been closed since a tree floating down the Yellow River earlier this year struck the bridge supports. Ritzler reviewed the bid and thinks the significant cost overrun may be a result of a misunderstanding as to the scope of part of the work. He tried to reach the contractor yesterday while the commissioners were meeting to get a clarification but was unable to do so. For now, the project is in limbo until the commissioners either approve the bid or solicit new bids for the work. Any action will have to be taken during a special-called meeting, which requires 48 hour notice.