Request to spend more on pump stations not unusual, officials say
BATON ROUGE - Despite asking city leaders to approve a four-percent increase in cost and nearly a year of additional work, engineers of the city's $1.2 billion sewer upgrade say the project is on budget and on time.
Wednesday, the SSO asked the Metro Council to approve spending $859,659 on various items needed to do work on sixteen pump stations around O'Neal Lane. The work requires an extra 309 days. Construction started at the end of 2013 on this specific project.
The entire SSO project is expected to be complete by December 31, 2018, officials told WBRZ Wednesday afternoon. They don't expect the project - paid for mostly by sales taxes and a 4% increase in sewer fees on bills each year - to grow in cost.
The O'Neal project contains only 16 of 500 pumping stations which vary in size. The project is one of twenty-five active SSO construction projects. Already, 73 have been finished. Twelve are still in the design stage and will be finished in the two-and-a-half year deadline.
The cost increase for the O'Neal Lane work is because of a two-year backlog in change order requests engineers waited to file with city leaders. While, on the outside, it appears large - the project was originally approved to cost about $14.5 million and now has grown to $15.3 million - engineers did not qualify the change as unusual. City sewer chiefs said Wednesday, change orders are averaging at or below what projects across the country require.
Change orders for the twenty-five SSO projects are routinely on the council agenda for approval. The Metro Council will discuss the O'Neal Lane change order Wednesday afternoon.
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