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Editorial: Adjusted sticker price is among final shutdown reminders

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The Hastings bridge project will take a significant step over the next few weeks.

During that time frame, we will also learn how much this bridge is going to cost us.

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Yes, we all know what the old figure was: $120 million. That was the price tag affixed to the project when it was initially approved.

That price, though, is bound to go up. The state government shutdown in the summer of 2011 meant that the project fell behind, and the contractor will essentially be on the job site about six months to a year longer than originally planned.

That delay will come with a cost, and we will find out soon what that cost is.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has been working with the contractor, Lunda/Ames, to negotiate the new sticker price.

Based on what project manager Steve Kordosky said at Monday's meeting of the city council, they're nearing the end of those negotiations.

Kordosky put to rest some rumors going around about what the new pricetag will be. Council member Joe Balsanek reported he had heard that the bridge is expected to cost about $210 million, instead of $120 million. Kordosky replied: "It's nowhere near the magnitude that you just mentioned."

The shutdown was a black mark on the state, and we are stunned that its lingering effects are still being felt here. When this revised cost is finally released, we will hopefully never be reminded of that 2011 shutdown again.

Now, as for the planned move of the main span: It sounds like the week after Labor Day is when the move will begin. Obviously, for anyone living across the bridge with school children, this is bad news. The bridge, according to the most recent MnDOT estimates, will be shut down for up to 72 hours. The encouraging news, though, is that it appears (as of now, anyway) that the bridge shutdown will only impact one school day -- Friday, Sept. 7.

If all goes as planned, and that's a big "if" at this point, the bridge could be shut down Thursday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Sept. 9. We think that is the best possible scenario, and hopefully the weather cooperates so that this schedule can be kept.

Hopefully in a few weeks, all this news about shutdowns will be over with.

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