Central Ave. costs increase

County engineer Bruce Cochran reported to county commissioners at their Oct. 2 meeting that cost overruns on the Central Avenue resurfacing project had exceeded 10 percent of the awarded contract.

The contract was for $1.732 million and the final cost was $1.964 million.

The change orders were undiscoverable, Cochran told commissioners.

“Until you tear it apart, you really don’t know what you have,” he said.

Cochran said that in his six years as county engineer, this was the first contract that had gone more than 10 percent over the awarded contract.

For example, he said, his office budgeted for 1,000 feet of curb and it turned out to be considerably more than that.

The cost for extra curb was about $38,000. Cochran said there were several hundred feet, in small pieces, more than anticipated.

Other change orders were $8,500 for conduit that got cut when saw cuts of curb were made, $23,000 for street utilities, $38,000 for rebuilding catch basins, and $9,500 for removing some concrete.

Commissioner Phil Peterson asked Cochran if he’s had these problems before.

“Usually we have more control,” Cochran answered.

He explained later that it’s harder to get a handle on things with an urban project.

Commissioner Dan Whitcomb, citing an example of light rail construction in the metro area, asked why the county would be responsible for costs that came about because of street lights.

“I’m a little concerned that we’re paying for it,” he said.

Cochran said Monday that the conduits were farther back from the curb than anticipated.

Cochran was directed by  commissioners to provide further research about the project and to report to the board. He will do so, likely at the Oct. 16 meeting.

For the full story, see the Thursday, Oct. 11 print edition of the Times.