Bad Estimate Inflates UT Road Job Costs

Sat May 29, 2004 - West Edition

LOGAN, UT (AP) A highway project in northern Utah will cost $6 million more than expected due to faulty estimations for topsoil and asphalt.

“There was an error in the materials quantity estimate,” said Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) spokesman Andy Neff. “So right now we’re re-evaluating the pavement design and looking at some other options to minimize the impact of those quantity overruns.”

The price tag for the U.S. 91 widening project north of Smithfield may grow from $14.6 million to approximately $20 million.

The state is in the process of widening the north-south roadway to four lanes from Smithfield to the Idaho state line.

The lead contractor on the project, Staker and Parsons Companies, has been stripping topsoil, installing storm drains, relocating utilities and beginning concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk construction.

Neff said the error in materials was a relatively small one and that officials are in the process of evaluating minor adjustments to the pavement design.

“The public shouldn’t notice any difference,” Neff said. “We don’t anticipate any changes to the schedule or the quality of the project.”

Neff said preliminary estimates show another $6 million will be needed, but he added that it’s still too early to tell.

Neff also said UDOT has extra money in the project budget and doesn’t expect to have to come up with more funding from another source.

The project is expected to be completed by fall 2005.