A bid for the Claiborne Street improvement project was over estimate, largely due to the increased price of asphalt, according to City Engineer Lindsay Erdman.

Skyline Construction of Decorah was awarded the $341,989 contract for the work at the intersection with State Street near the Decorah High School. The city's portion of the project will cost $303,847, and the Decorah School District's portion is $38,142. The District requested street work near the school be included with the project in conjunction with the Decorah High School renovation.

Erdman's estimate was $42,637 for the school's portion of the project and $283,728 for the city's portion for a total of $326,365.

"The school portion is about 10 percent under and the city's portion is about 6 or 7 percent over ... the biggest surprise was asphalt prices have taken a big jump," Erdman said.

The price of asphalt in Skyline's bid was about $11,000 more than anticipated, he said. The cost to remove existing pavement also was higher than anticipated.

"Other than that, the bid seemed reasonable," said Erdman, who recommend the Council accept the bid.

Skyline's bid was unanimously approved by the Council.

Erdman said the contractor plans to start as soon as school is out for the summer; the expected completion date is Aug. 15.

City Manager Chad Bird said if there is a shortage of funding, there is money left in the Short Street bonding project. Remaining bond funds total about $500,000, Bird said, although there is still work to be completed to wrap up the Short Street project.

"This is one of the top priorities the street committee wanted to get done in conjunction with the high school renovation project," commented Council member Gary Rustad, chair of the Council's street committee.

Plans call for straightening out the intersection, making it a "T" with a three-way stop. New sidewalks and bike lanes also will be installed. Currently, there are no stop signs at the intersection, only temporary stop signs placed on the street between John Cline Elementary and the high school before and after school.

Council member John Franzen said receiving only one bid on a $300,000 project is "baffling."

Erdman said project plans are made available to contractors around the state and region. He said Larson Construction, general contractor for the high school renovation, had expressed some interest in the street work, but didn't submit a bid.

Erdman said it's not unusual to receive a single bid since there aren't many companies in the area that have asphalt.