Crosstown drainage project needs extra $43 million and three more years

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - It might now cost an extra $43 million and take an additional three years than what was initially planned to complete the Spring-Fishburne Drainage Improvements Project in downtown Charleston.

Charleston City Council met during a workshop on Tuesday to discuss the Crosstown drainage project and to learn more about why plans for the project have changed.

Originally, the project was budgeted at $154 million. It was set to happen in five phases and be completed in 2020.

Now, officials working on the project say it will cost $197 million to complete by the year 2023.

“It’s a big number,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said. “It’s a huge number. But it’s a 28 percent difference over a 10-year period.”

The area the project focuses on is the Crosstown, which connects West Ashley to downtown Charleston. That area floods during almost every major storm.

Original estimates for the project were created in 2009 with Mayor Joe Riley.

The $43 million difference comes from delays in the project, extra contingency costs, inflation and even additions to the project, according to a representative from the company contracted to oversee the project.

The company behind the project says they found out about the cost difference in October, but council just found out about the increase in cost last week.

“Admittedly, some communications could have been better between our contractor and our public service department.”

Council members asked Tuesday night what the options were moving forward. The company behind the project doesn’t recommend backing out of the project, but the city does have a few options.

“We will work with the city on what options there may be in cost reductions forward, and we’ll explore those with them,” Chief Engineering Officer with Davis & Floyd Michael Horton said.

The project has been broken down into five phases.

So far, phases one and two have been completed, and phase three is 70 percent complete.

Tecklenburg said the city has funding they can use for phase four, but they will have to raise millions to finish phase five.

“We’re going to be seeking diligently under ever rock that we can look under addition funding to complete phase five,” Tecklenburg said. “We’re committed to completing the project, there’s no question about it.”

Council did not take any action during Tuesday’s meeting. Any action on authorizing funding for the next phase of the project has been pushed back to after Jan. 1.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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