A Metropolitan Council committee approved a new price tag for a pedestrian bridge serving the new Vikings stadium — and it's nearly $2.7 million more than expected.
A final vote on the $9.65 million proposal is expected at the Dec. 9 meeting of the regional planning body.
The Met Council received just two bids for the work, which involves constructing a bridge between U.S. Bank Stadium and a new park and other parts of a redeveloped Downtown East. The idea is to avoid a pedestrian scrum near the busy light-rail transit station, which now serves the Green and Blue Lines.
The Met Council had budgeted $7 million for the project, with the Vikings funding up to $3.5 million and receiving 50 percent of revenue from advertising at the Downtown East station for the next 30 years.
But when bids arrived in October, the two received were far higher than anticipated. This caused the Met Council, the Vikings and stadium builder, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, to continue negotiations over how to pay for the structure.
A new deal was revealed at the Met Council's Transportation Committee meeting Monday. The Met Council's contribution will now be $4 million, with the Vikings' portion increasing from $3.5 million to up to $6 million. The team would also receive 90 percent of the revenue from advertising at the Downtown East station, estimated at $310,000 a year.
Committee member Gail Dorfman, who voted against the original proposal, said, "it was a bad deal then for a little-used bridge and, now that the cost has gone up, it's an even-worse deal."
Committee member Edward Reynoso pointed out that the initial deal cost $6 million — with no contribution from the Vikings. "You always hear about a bridge to nowhere, this is a bridge to safety," he said.
The winning bidder was St. Paul-based LS Black Constructors. Metro Transit officials attributed the low bidder turnout to labor shortages, the lack of available subcontractors and the project's tight timeline. The bridge is expected to be in place when the stadium opens for the 2016 NFL season.