Bids were opened this past week on the Highway 100 median project in Washington. Perhaps it would be more correct to say on the Highway 100 beautification project. With whatever it is called, the bids came in very close in price, and within the budgeted amount.

Several things can be extrapolated from the numbers. There were six construction firms that submitted bids. Five were relatively close, and the sixth, the high bidder, wasn’t that far off the low bid. The bidders apparently really did their homework on the project. Another indication is that the construction firms need work and looked at their cost and their profit very carefully. In better economic times, there may not have been this much interest.

The low bid and the second lowest were only $48.31 apart. On a project of more than a half a million dollars, that’s really close. The third lowest bid was only $9,623.57 off the low mark. The next two were not that far off on a project this big. The high bid was $53,124.04 over the low bid.

The city has about $680,000 available for the project, the scope of which was explained in a news story in Wednesday’s edition and in other stories over the past months.

A federal enhancement grant will pay up to 80 percent of the cost.

The city will examine the bids, including alternate work, this month. It hopes to award a contract in January for the beautification project.

The work is going to have a positive impact on motorists, especially first-time visitors to the city, and those just passing through Washington. Some people view this project as a waste of money. Others view enhancements in a positive vein, adding to the appearance of a city, telling a story of progress and something about the people in a community as to their values.