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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - A planned major Rochester Public Utilities project has been put on hold due to the same problems others are dealing with - high prices and supply chain issues.

The RPU Board is being asked to reject bids for the planned construction of a new electrical substation along Marion Rd (1300 block). RPU staff sought bids last month for the site construction and control building for the project.

RPU says “that portion of the project was estimated to cost around $1,000,000 and the one bid received was twice this amount. There was also concern over the availability and pricing of materials that would have impacted the schedule.” Staff is also recommending the rejection of the only bid received for the purchase of steel structures and anchor bolts for the project.

Staff has decided to hit the pause button on the project for 6 months. According to a memo, “Staff plans to re-bid the project later this year or early 2022 in hopes that availability and pricing of materials will level off.”

RPU says the new substation is needed to meet expected growth in the downtown, much of it driven by Mayo Clinic-related projects. The most recent cost estimate was put at between $14.4-million and $17-million. Under a Memorandum of Understanding approved earlier by the RPU board, Mayo would pay half the cost of the substation. The agreement would allow Mayo to have exclusive access to some of the power from the substation.

Although the project is expected to be placed on hold, RPU is planning a virtual public meeting on the plan Wednesday, September 1 at 5:30pm.

The virtual public meeting will lay out details of the proposed substation and provide an opportunity for community members to ask questions or to voice comments on the proposed project. RPU says the proposed substation will enhance its ability to provide quality electric power to neighborhoods and businesses in central and southeast Rochester. The area of service will generally span from 11th Avenue southeast to 50th Avenue, and from 4th Street SE to Hwy. 52. Businesses and Mayo facilities in downtown Rochester will also be served from the new substation.

The meeting link and call-in phone number will be made available on the RPU home page on the blue callout banner, as well as on the RPU blog listing.

News update:  Two motorcyclists hurt in crashes in southeast Minnesota.

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