On Tuesday evening the Forney City Council approved $132,000.00 to cover yet another estimation error associated with the Redbud Street reconstruction project.
Describing the budget shortfall, Interim City Manager Wendle Medford said “In the Spring of 2017, during the design phase we actually located and identified a high pressure gas line that needs to be relocated. Staff worked with Atmos to come up with a game plan to relocate that, and Atmos provided two estimates during that time frame."
Explaining Medford said "The first estimate came in as a soft estimate at $336,000. Which staff brought back to council in August and we included a 15% contingency. So the total was not to exceed $336,000. Then the second estimate came in at $251,000. So per the agreement, the staff actually sent Atmos a check to execute the agreement based on the understanding that those cost would increase.”
Detailing the estimate process, Medford said “The final estimate came back at $451,000 back in January 2018. With a 15% contingency it brings the grand total to $518,405.74 which puts us short by $132,000.”
First to question the estimate error, Council Member David Johnson said “Wendle, I guess I’d call this project ‘the project from Hell’ because it just seems like the more we go into it, the more it’s costing us. We had issues initially with some poor estimating made by a vendor and a previous Public Works Director that ended up costing us a million more dollars on this project.”
Johnson said “I was going over this in detail and I noticed a big difference on the construction part. They were talking and their estimator was saying $420.00 a linear foot. And when they got the bid it was for $1,800 a linear foot. So I’m trying to figure this out.”
Frustrated Johnson said “I know construction costs are wild and crazy these days, but I can’t believe that in this short of time they’ve gone up four and a half times. And that has me concerned because here’s another hundred and thirty thousand dollars that staff has got to go find. We’ve already had to do that on another project downtown. It seems like every time we turn around we have to find money to cover another project problem.”
An Atmos Energy representative was present to answer several council questions regarding the estimating and construction bid process that was use on the Redbud Street reconstruction project.
Without hesitation he admitted that the Atmos engineer who provided the initial estimate did not do any type of field inspection but instead simply provided the cost estimate from assumed construction costs.
Addressing the Atmos representative, Mayor Rick Wilson said “We’ve already seen an increase of almost 40%, so do you now feel confident in the bid process, now that you understand the entire scope of the work?”
To which the Atmos representative responded “Yes, we’re confident in this estimate.”
The relocation of the Atmos gas line located beneath Redbud Street will begin within the next 45 days, and the entire relocation process of the gas line is expected to last approximately three months.
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Written by: Denise Bell