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Bid to move Irvin higher than expected

The William A. Irvin, pictured here in 2016, is expected to be moved from Minnesota Slip to Fraser Shipyards this fall. (file / News Tribune)

Moving the William A. Irvin from its current location at Minnesota Slip to Fraser Shipyards and back is going to cost the city of Duluth $250,000 more than expected.

The Duluth City Council will consider a resolution Monday that would reappropriate $250,000 of 2018 tourism tax funds, originally assigned to finance the rehabilitation of the Minnesota Slip Bridge, and use it to move the retired freighter. The pedestrian bridge that spans the slip will be pinned in an upright position to provide room for the Irvin to squeeze through the abutments with only 15 total inches to spare.

The city already approved an agreement in June to provide half the funding needed to move the laker at a total cost not expected to exceed $600,000. But the agreement also stated that the city will have to pick up any overrun expenses. With the additional cost of more than $250,000, the city is now on the hook for more than $550,000.

The extra cost stems from the contract to move the Irvin from the Minnesota Slip this fall to Fraser Shipyards, where its hull will be painted, and back again in the spring, said Jim Filby Williams, Duluth's director of public administration.

"We estimated the cost of towing the Irvin to be around $400,000, but the bids came back around $650,000," he said.

The resolution to approve the contract to relocate the Irvin is also on the city council's agenda for Monday. The contract is expected to be awarded to Wren Works, LLC for an amount not to exceed $656,968.

The Irvin will need to move this fall to allow for crews to begin working on a project designed to stabilize and contain contaminated sediments in the slip.

Adelle Whitefoot

Adelle Whitefoot is a Michigan native who moved to Minnesota in Sept. 2014 when she started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. She graduated from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., in 2012 with a bachelor's in English writing and has been a professional photographer since 2011. Whitefoot is the night general assignments reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. 

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