Frustrated with the oft-delayed project but resigned to the reality that there was no other way forward, the City Commission approved at its Monday night meeting the hiring of a new firm to assume engineering duties at Lift Station 87.
The city will pay McKim & Creed $1.1 million for phase one of engineering work at the lift station in Luke Wood Park.
That includes assuming responsibility as the engineer of record after the city’s agreement with Boyle Engineering and AECOM Technology Corp., the previous engineers, fell through and the project stalled. City Manager Tom Barwin said the prior firm was “obviously in breach of contract” and that litigation is currently ongoing as a result.
The first phase of work will include gathering data on the Hudson Bayou, the bottom of which needs to be at an elevation above the already constructed lift station for the intended pipeline to be functional. Boyle and AECOM’s inability to micro-tunnel under the bayou caused the previous efforts to fail, city officials said.
After collecting data at the lift station and evaluating methods of completing construction, McKim & Creed will return to the commission and present the costs for phase two of the work.
Phase one is slated to take 150 days, and Barwin said the “aspirational” date of completion was August 2015. Still, he acknowledged that was a best-case scenario; city staff said work could last until
Two residents on Pomelo Avenue, where Lift Station 7 sits, spoke at the meeting to admonish the city’s work at Lift Station 87. The new lift station was supposed to replace Lift Station 7, which has been kept active through the delayed construction. Construction on Lift Station 87 was approved in 2008 and was originally supposed to be completed by December 2011.
City officials said until construction on Lift Station 87 is completed, they have no choice but to continue to send a third of the city’s sewage through the older station.
Several commissioners expressed their frustration with the project, which cost the city $7 million before McKim & Creed was brought on board. Still, they said they hoped this was a step toward closure — though not all of them were optimistic.
“I support this, because I don’t see what other options we have, but I cringe to think of what surprises wait for us,” Commissioner Paul Caragiulo said.
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