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Contractor lawsuit could mean St. Croix River bridge would cost millions more

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Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

HUDSON, WI (WTAQ) - Officials say the new bridge over the St. Croix River at Hudson might cost millions of dollars more if a contractor wins a lawsuit over a bidding dispute.

Minnesota’s DOT filed a response Tuesday to a request for a federal injunction that would halt the project until the bidding issue is settled.

C.S. McCrossan submitted the low bid for an approach to the new bridge on the Minnesota side. The Gopher State rejected the bid, saying it did not show compliance with Minnesota’s requirements to use women and minority-owned sub-contractors.

McCrossan disagreed, and the firm took its case to both the federal and Minnesota courts.

The new bridge is scheduled to open in 2016, but officials say the contractor’s legal challenge could delay the project by up to two years. Even with a 120 day delay, engineer John Chiglo says the extra cost could be as much as $5 million.

Wisconsin and Minnesota taxpayers are splitting the total cost of the new bridge – which is projected to total around $626 million.

Meanwhile, the contractors that were awarded the approach work – including Lunda Construction of Black River Falls – said McCrossan should have raised its objections earlier.

Federal Judge Richard Kyle may or may not hold a hearing before deciding on the injunction request.

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