Engineer’s estimate increases due to design work
When the preliminary estimates were presented to the Columbus City Council for the Hornsby Street realignment a few years ago, nobody foresaw that the project design would be much more difficult than originally thought.
“It wasn’t a simple rural road construction,” said City Engineer Larry Bohrer.
He notified the council of the change during a Jan. 25 meeting. The item will be on the Feb. 22 agenda; members requested Bohrer, who is a municipal group manager at the engineering firm TKDA, summarize the additional work.
Bohrer explained that in 2009, the estimate was made based on a gravel road improvement which was not what actually occurred. There are nine different water features and a number of iterations to get approval from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
He said meeting drainage requirements when there is so little high ground complicated matters. The road was rough cut in November 2011, with the swamp soils excavated and backfilled with sand. Dresel Contracting – the low bidder – will commence construction in April or May. The intersection where Hornsby Street meets TH-97 is being moved approximately 500 feet to the east.
“Now it’s just sitting over the winter,” he said.
Last month, City Attorney Bill Griffith said the estimate is subject to the actual work. “They can’t foresee every contingency,” he said.
Mayor Dave Povolny questioned if the project was over budget. The city’s share will remain the same at $775,100, Bohrer said. Columbus received a MnDOT grant of $594,000 to realign Hornsby Street.
The total estimated project cost was originally $1,369,100; it’s now $1,328,565.
Povolny expressed his sentiments, saying “We were hoping to have a savings.”
The engineering costs for report, design and construction services is usually 15 percent of the project estimate. However, it increased from $144,000 to $226,382 in January 2012.
In turn, Bohrer decreased the contingency from $93,620 to just $40,535.
“I brought it up again in January  because I wanted them to take official action that they acknowledged it,” he said.
Also at that meeting, the council authorized City Administrator Elizabeth Mursko to proceed with the bonding process for the project for an amount up to $775,100.