WATER PLANT’S RI$ING TIDE

December 1, 2008 at 6:33 pm Leave a comment

Rising construction prices, design changes and a dearth of bidders have more than doubled the cost of a gigantic water-filtration plant being built 10 stories beneath a Bronx driving range, budget experts have found.

The plant is now expected to cost nearly $3.1 billion, up from $1.3 billion in 2003. Early estimates from the 1990s put the cost at $660 million.

The skyrocketing price tag has been a key concern for critics, who say the plant has been mismanaged by the city. Officials say the project, which the city was required to build, is making progress after a slow start.

The plant, due to be completed in 2012, is designed to filter up to a quarter of the city’s water supply, or about 300 million gallons a day. The project will be New York City’s first drinking-water filtration facility, and is believed to be the first subterranean water plant in the nation.

Both the city and its critics see vindication in the cost assessment, presented in October to community leaders.

Opponents say the findings show that the agency overseeing the project, the city Department of Environmental Protection, underestimated its cost.

In explaining the rocketing price tag, the DEP has emphasized an industrywide escalation in construction costs. The budget agency said that explains just under half the jump in the water plant’s price.

Water users will ultimately pay the rising tab. The DEP has said the plant accounts for about 7 percent of water users’ bills, a figure comparable to those for other large-scale projects.

By JENNIFER PELTZ, AP

New York Post

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Entry filed under: Bronx, Dive In, Public Waterfront. Tags: , , , .

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