A LaPorte-based contractor will begin repairs on the bridge over the Yellow River on County Road 700 East today. It’s been closed since a tree floating down the river struck one of the bridge supports earlier this year, rendering the structure unstable. LaPorte Construction was the only company to bid on the work. However, when the Starke County Commissioners opened their bid on Monday, July 7 it was nearly double the estimated cost for the project. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler contacted the company, clarified the scope of the work and got them to knock the price down to $78,536. The commissioners approved the revised bid last night. Ritzler says the contractor advised he can still complete the project by the Aug. 15 deadline outlined in the original specifications. Ritzler did note the entire bridge is slated for replacement in 2018. He’s working with INDOT to see if that timeline can be moved up. Meanwhile, the commissioners and county attorney agree the bridge needs to be fixed as soon as possible so the road can reopen.