JUNEAU (AP) -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has put on hold its plans to build a fisheries research center at Lena Point in Juneau, a spokeswoman said.
The federal agency canceled a bid solicitation for the 69,000 square-foot research facility and is reconsidering its options, said Sheela McLean, spokeswoman with the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The federal agency had estimated the facility would cost $36 million. The lowest bid on the project, offered by Cornerstone of Anchorage, was $42 million.
''We're looking at trying to fit within the money we have right now,'' McLean said.
The proposed research facility was intended to replace a lab at Auke Bay and house about 100 employees with the federal fisheries service. A University of Alaska Fairbanks fisheries lab was also planned for Lena Point.
Construction was to begin this summer and the project was expected be finished by 2004.
Federal officials are considering scaling back the Lena Point facility or renovating the Auke Bay lab among its options, McLean said.
The budget for the project has already been reduced from $78 million to $50 million since work on the center began in 1992.
The federal government contributed funding with the city on a new road at Lena Point. Juneau interim City Manager John MacKinnon said work will continue on the road.
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