Change orders increase prices of Bay projects

Bay St. Louis

The price went up on two major municipal projects this week when the Bay St. Louis City Council approved change orders requested for additional work on the downtown parking garage and the Depot District streetscape.

Council members approved an increase of more than $87,583 for the two projects combined. That brought change orders approved by the council between December and this week on various city projects to more than $1 million.

Change orders occur when a contractor determines that additional work is needed on a project that was not included in the original bid. Extra work approved on the Court Street parking garage, currently under construction, was for eight items ranging in individual costs from about $2,000 to nearly $14,500.

“There have been a number of structural changes thus far” on the project, architect Allison Anderson told the council. Most of the newest changes were for footings and structural steel, she said.

A breakdown on costs filed with the council shows the change order was for purposes including revising the garage elevation and parking ramp, waterproofing requirements, and adding rebar to a stairwell and to corner columns.

Other changes included adding steel to slabs and revising cable guardrail support systems. Broken out, the total additional cost is $37,583.68. More than $12,000 in previous change orders have already been approved on the parking garage, bringing its initial cost from more than $3.13 million to a new level of more than $3.18 million.

On the Depot District streetscape project, Anderson told council members the project was originally bid and awarded without a geo-technical report being received. When a report was later obtained, it showed the presence of contamination from old building materials in the soil at one end of the depot proper, which will be the site of a new fish pond.

To correct the problem, vinyl sheet-piling must be installed to contain the contamination, Anderson said. That will cost another $59,000 above the original $1.16 million, hiking the project cost to more than $1.21 million.

“Without this, we won’t have a pond,” Anderson said.

Such change orders have become as regular as rain as the city continues rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina. So far, the additional costs have been covered through federal funds.

In January, the council approved a $547,000 change order for additional road work. That was preceded by an extra $200,000 approved in December for a generator and protective structure at the new Main Street fire station, and another $172,000 approved on various other projects that same month.

BY: J.R. Welsh

The Sea Coast Echo

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