Bourbon Street repair work to take longer, more than doubles in cost

Bourbon Street repair work to take longer, more than doubles in cost

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The first phase of construction work on along Bourbon Street in the French Quarter will now take even longer to finish.

The City of New Orleans released an updated time line Wednesday on the work being done along the first four blocks of Bourbon Street.

The work on phase one of the project started on April 24, and now isn't slated to be done until the end of the year. Phase one included the 100-400 blocks of Bourbon Street.

It's also way over budget. The entire project, which included the 100 to 800 blocks of Bourbon Street, was supposed to cost a total of 6 million dollars and take nine months to complete.  Now the city estimates that the cost will surpass 13-point-3 million dollars.

Both phase 1 and phase 2 are fully funded by the city and the Sewerage and Water Board, with the additional 3.879 million dollar cost to the city coming from bond funds.

Phase 2, which includes fully reconstructing the 500 – 800 blocks of Bourbon Street, will be designed, bid and awarded through a separate contract with the goal of starting in May 2018.

The city said the following added to the additional costs of the project:

* The increased number of drain lines and size to meet current design standards, custom-made connections and siphons in order to run drain    lines underneath or around other underground utility infrastructure costs an additional 2.3 million dollars. 

* Additional offsets to run water line around other underground utility infrastructure, upgraded meter vaults and added valves for future maintenance costs an extra 2 million dollars. 

* Additional required point repairs, repair / lining of additional sewer service connection and installation of new sewer system clean outs costs an extra  1.8 million dollars. 

* Changes to a full replacement of brick sidewalk due to the high number of new service connections and new underground conduit costs an additional 700,000 dollars. 

* Additional and continuous noise and vibration monitoring and survey support costs an additional 400,000 dollars. 

The city also said that it ran into a number of problems that led to delays in the project.

* The aggressive project schedule put almost every activity on the critical path (meaning that there could be little to no deviation from the schedule for activities on the critical path) with little time built into the schedule for rain delays.  June 2017 was the third wettest month on record with more than double the average annual rainfall.  As of July 31, 15 work days had been lost due to weather delays.  

* The exact locations and size of almost all of the utility lines underneath Bourbon Street are either missing or inaccurately depicted on our available as-built drawings.  Exploratory trenching in multiple locations in each block is the only reliable way to verify where the utility lines are buried, how deep they are buried and how big they are.  As of July 31, three work days had been lost due to necessary exploratory trenching to support field design and safe construction.  

* Space underneath Bourbon Street is even more limited than anticipated to support the installation of new underground utility lines that are in most cases larger to meet current design standards.  Due to conflicts underground with multiple utility lines in a very limited space, there are no straight, standard utility line installations.  Specialty utility line installations take longer and cost significantly more (three to four times more) than originally anticipated.  As of July 31, eight work days had been needed to resolve unforeseen site conditions (i.e. utility conflicts with off-sets, siphons, custom-built manholes and other engineering measures) 

* The condition of the underground utility lines/duct banks is even worse than anticipated.  Sewer service connections from businesses connected to the drain lines and grease globs in the drain lines, which is a violation of the sanitary code as well as roof drain lines from buildings terminating underneath the street, but not connected to the drainage system, which is prevalent in about 20 percent of the businesses (in some cases allowing runoff to flow into utility manholes), which is a violation of the plumbing code. As of July 31, 11 work days had been lost due to unforeseen site conditions.  

* Continuous outreach during all phases of the project to set expectations, immediately address concerns, and communicate changes as they occur on site is critical to our success.

The following is the updated time line of when blocks with in the first phase will reopen:

* 100 Block - Weather permitting, the 100 block will re-open to pedestrian traffic on or around August 23 and to vehicular traffic when fully completed on or around Sept. 8.  

* 200 Block - Weather permitting, the 200 block will re-open to pedestrian traffic early to mid-October and to vehicular traffic when fully completed on or before Oct. 26.  

* 300 Block - Weather permitting, the 300 block will re-open to pedestrian traffic mid-September and to vehicular traffic when fully completed on or before Sept. 30. 

* 400 Block - Weather permitting, the 400 block will re-open to pedestrian and to vehicular traffic in December 2017. 

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