When repairs on the 133-year-old Brooklyn Bridge began in 2010, it was estimated that the massive project would cost about $508 million. Now, that estimate has hit $811 million–$200 million higher than estimates from as recent as last year and almost 60 percent higher than the original number, the New York Post reports.
The Mayor’s Office of Operations points to “scope changes” and “unforeseen field conditions” in an online explanation; the completion date has been delayed as well, to April 2017, four years later than originally planned. Department of Transportation officials say the additional work needed would include steel repairs, painting and the repair of damage done to protective shielding in barge incident. City taxpayers will pick up the tab for 54 percent of the repairs, with the federal government pitching n the remainder.
Maria Doulis, an analyst for the watchdog group Citizens Budget Commission, suggests that “The city needs Albany to grant the Transportation Department ‘design-build authority,’ which would save money and get the work done faster.” The group estimates that it could save the city as much as $2 billion over a 10 year period if it held the same level of authority as the state for management of bridge construction. Doulis says, “Big public projects take too long to complete and routinely run over budget.”
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