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ODOT begins Fourth Street extension project in agreement with the city

While the design and other technical aspects of the project will be dealt with by ODOT, the city will manage the construction project and be responsible for any overruns ... which ODOT says with assurance is not likely to happen
Design work on the proposed extension of Fourth Street, connecting N. Court Street to Elm, can now proceed - the city has agreed to be responsible for any cost overruns.
   The city was recently awarded a Local Street Network grant to fund the extension. City officials asked that Oregon Department of Transportation staff provide technical services of engineering, right-of-way acquisition, environmental and hazardous materials testing and construction administration. ODOT wanted to make sure that the city)s responsibilities were acceptable.
   "In the unlikely event," ODOT's regional manager Gary Farnsworth told the city council, "of a budget overrun, ODOT will not be responsible. The city controls the project at every step and if an overrun happened the city would have to decide what to do."
   City staff have developed cost estimates for the two-block long project, and expect the job to end up about $40,000 less than the amount of the grant. But, council man Jerry Blank wanted to know, "if the full $475,000 was spent and the job not done, can we just shut it down?"
   The city could take whatever steps it deems necessary in that case, Farnsworth said. Once ODOT's appraisal and design work is completed, Farnsworth said, there will be a decision point. "We'll know what the complete cost will be. There will also be other decision points along the way."
   Okay, Blank continued, "we)re stuck with overruns. If there is an 'under run' do we keep that money for other projects?"
   The ODOT answers was "No. The LSN funds can only be used for projects like this and any extra funds have to be returned. You)d have to go through the grant process to get it back."
   These are state funds, Farnsworth added, and everybody has to follow the state rules.
   If everything goes according to schedule, construction bid opening is set for about a year from now and the entire project will be completed by Nov. 2002.