Community & Business

3 March, 2022

New bridge costs blow out again

ANOTHER $215,000 will have to be found in Tablelands Regional Council’s capital works program after tenders for the replacement of a bridge came in 45 per cent higher than expected.

Photo - Dreamstime
Photo - Dreamstime

The tender for replacing Sluice Creek Bridge at Evelyn was awarded to Lift Tek Pty Ltd T/A Dempsey Cranes and Construction for $485,583 but this has now blown out the budget for the project to $715,666. 

Deputy Mayor Cr Kevin Cardew was clearly annoyed by the request for more funds, saying it was becoming common for such reports coming to council for a variation in project costs. 

“Here we are again at another council meeting being asked to approve a variation for a substantial amount of money,” he said. 

“Just about every meeting we are asked to approve overspends – we just can’t keep doing it,” he said, flagging he would not be supporting the request and calling for the project to be deferred until the next financial year. 

Officers reported that tender prices received for the project had been 30-45 per cent higher than anticipated and attributed the increase to the high volume of works underway in the region as part of Covid stimulation funding programs, which had reduced competition between contractors and resulted in increased prices. 

But the report to council also revealed that part of the budget overspend was due to “significant elements” of the project – the supply and installation of the bridge piles – being not understood during the development of the capital works budget because site investigations and piling design had not been completed. 

“The combined cost of the geotechnical investigations, piling design and piling supply and installation exceed the project budget shortfall. 

For this project to continue an additional funding allocation of approximately $215,666 is recommended to cover project costs as currently anticipated for 2021/22,” the report said. 

Council voted to approve the additional funds for the project, with Cr Cardew voting against the motion. 

The project is being funded by Tablelands Regional Council and a Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS) grant and council may now request additional funds from the program to help with the shortfall. 

“Where a TIDS project incurs additional costs beyond the approved allocation, the municipality can seek up to an additional 10 per cent TIDS funding allocation based on the 50/50 funding split model. In this case TRC can seek an additional TIDS allocation of $26,750 towards the Sluice Creek Bridge project,” the report said.


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