Pedestrian bridge project cost increases

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – It’s a project with a goal of updating a major foot traffic area, but the cost of that renovation to the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge came in about $710,000 dollars more than originally planned. Now, the project has a total estimated cost of $3.5 million.

Area Plan Commission Executive Director Sallie Fahey said preliminary estimates aren’t always able to foresee every potential added costs, but the most accurate estimate happens once the engineering is finished.

“Sometimes it’s easier to estimate that early on and other projects it’s not quite so easy,” said Fahey.

That was the case for the pedestrian bridge. Bridge decking was more expensive than originally planned. Plus, the cost of fencing to keep people out of the project, while protecting the railroad. Fahey said although some safety precautions were planned, more areas will require fencing and that doesn’t come cheap.

“It turns out that the fencing has to be custom made, so that’s the other reason why the cost increased,” said Fahey.

Transportation planner Doug Poad said federal funds were moved from an existing project on S. 18th Street, but says other money is available to replace what was taken.

“We already found some. We have several projects that have actually been completed within the last two or three years and there is a balance of federal funds within that,” said Poad.

Money for the projects is managed by the Area Plan Commission through the Transportation Improvement Program or “TIP” and can be moved between projects. Fahey is confident they can find replacement funds for the S. 18th Street Project.

“Yeah, we’ll find the money,” said Fahey. “We’ll figure it out.”

Fahey said the project on S. 18th Street has been postponed. She says it has nothing to do with a lack of funding and didn’t know that exact amount of time it would be delayed.

As for the John T. Meyers Pedestrian Bridge, it’s taken about two months longer than expected to get started. Fahey said she expects the project to begin in April and is confident that the bridge will be back in full use by the summer.

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