Mathiowetz Construction Company learned at bid openings last week that they are the apparent low bidder on a highway project in northern Minnesota.

Mathiowetz Construction Company learned at bid openings last week that they are the apparent low bidder on a highway project in northern Minnesota. The project will expand Highway 371 from two lanes to four from Nisswa and Jenkins.

According to MnDOT, the project includes:

•Four lanes of roadway, improved accesses, and new bridges in Nisswa.

•A new four-lane “gateway” to businesses, a new interchange with roundabouts at County Road 11, improved road connections and a realigned Paul Bunyan Trail with a new trail bridge over Highway 371 in Pequot Lakes.

•Four lanes of roadway, safety upgrades, trail improvements and a new signalized intersection at County Road 16/Meyers Road in Jenkins.

Mathiowetz’s bid was $49.86 million, well below the project cost estimate of $58 million. The project will receive $45 million in funds from MnDOT’s Corridors of Commerce program.

While highway construction will begin in spring of 2016, Mathiowetz Construction will begin clearing and grubbing work in January. Apparently the area is home to northern long-eared bats, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing as an endangered species. The bats will be hibernating in caves and mines during the winter so the clearing can be done then.

“We are thrilled to get this project,” said Julie Anderson of Mathiowetz Construction. “It will provide work for our employees through 2016 and most of 2017.”