CONTAMINATED soil, sewer damage and the need to protect fibre cables have sparked a $670,000 blowout in the upgrade of Wodonga’s Elgin Boulevard and High Street.
Ratepayers will shoulder most of the extra cost — the council hopes to recover $100,000 from state agency Places Victoria, a party to the Junction Place development which was involved in the realignment of the Elgin Boulevard-High Street intersection.
The council awarded a $4.284 million contract to Excell Gray Bruni in October, but this week agreed to lift it to $4.934 million.
The extra money covers $551,580 for work already done and $120,000 to pay for the removal of asbestos, stormwater drain improvements and the replacement of subgrade — the earth under the road ways.
There has already been $130,550 spent on removing more contaminated soil, $128,730 on replacing poor material under Elgin Boulevard and its intersection with Hume Street, $90,180 on protecting an optic fibre cable, $78,535 on stormwater changes, sparked by the location of the Melbourne-Sydney optic fibre line, $56,690 on work in High Street and $25,080 on sewer repairs in Hume Street.
The council’s planning and infrastructure director, Leon Schultz, told councillors the work “could not have been forecast” when the tender was awarded.
“The extent of unknowns was considerable and included the volume of contaminated soil, the exact of optic fibre infrastructure and how this could impact changes to design levels, more drainage and the quality of sub-grade material,” Mr Schultz said.
“Unknowns also included the location of unrecorded services, including asbestos, and extent of work done on behalf of third parties.
“These variations have all been necessary to ensure a quality product is delivered for the city.”
Mr Schultz said Elgin Boulevard, west of High Street, would open in the “near future”.
“Contractors are waiting to put down the final asphalt layer which has been delayed by the cooler temperatures and continued rain,” he said.
“Works have moved into Elgin Boulevard east, the former Jack Hore Place. It is planned to open this section in August.
“We have continued to work extremely closely with businesses in the area to try to minimise the impacts to them wherever possible.
“Following the completion of the works and with a spell of dry weather, line-marking will then take place in Elgin Boulevard west and in High Street.
“It is expected this major road works project will be fully completed in the spring.”