High bid may delay 21st Street improvements

Higher than expected bids that have dogged the City of Minot on certain projects this summer also could affect progress on sewer and traffic signals proposed for 21st Street Northwest.

The Minot City Council’s Finance and Improvements Committee voted Tuesday to recommend the council reject the lone bid on a project to construct sewer line along 21st Avenue Northwest from 12th Street to the new MarketPlace Foods store at 16th Street and install traffic signals at 16th Street and 21st Avenue. If the council follows suit, the city will rebid the project in the fall, pushing back construction until next spring.

The $2.26 million bid received July 9 was 31 percent over the engineer’s estimate. The city is receiving 80 percent funding from the federal Economic Development Administration.

Council member Dean Frantsvog, who opposed the delay, spoke of resident frustrations with the existing stop signs that are providing traffic control at 16th Street and 21st Avenue. Pedestrians using the walking trail that crosses 21st Avenue don’t feel protected with just a stop sign, he added.

City engineer Lance Meyer said the heavier traffic on 21st Street tends to back up, and motorists often will roll through the intersection rather than stopping if there is no cross traffic on 16th Street at the time. However, installation of temporary, battery-operated signals in the interim are costly and may not be entirely dependable, he said.

In other business, the committee learned that the city and state no longer are involved in the bidding for site improvements at Minot Artspace Lofts because Artspace has decided not to use Community Development Block Grant funds for the work. The project was bid, but state Department of Commerce officials reviewing the bids ran into issues that might have prevented making an award in time for Artspace to use the CDBG funds.

Heidi Kurtze, vice president of property development for Artspace, said earlier this week that Artspace determined it could move more quickly on the site improvements, such as itssidewalk, outside the strict requirements of the CDBG program. Artspace was able to proceed with its other funds because costs were lower than projected in some areas of the $9.4 million project. The project used all of the $300,000 CDBG funds that it received except for about $74,200 available for site improvements. The unused money will return to the state to be awarded elsewhere.

Kurtze said the first residents of Minot Artspace Lofts will be moving in the third week of August. Artspace still is taking applications to fill the final vacancies in the 34-unit building.