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West Valley City Journal

Costs increase for 4100 South reconstruction

May 09, 2019 02:02PM ● By Justin Adams

By Travis Barton | [email protected] 

Construction prices are going up. And municipalities are not immune. 

The West Valley City Council unanimously passed a resolution on April 9 reaffirming its commitment to fully fund the 4100 South reconstruction project, which sees the city road completely rebuilt between Bangerter Highway and 5460 West. 

The vote came about after an estimated $15 million in construction costs for the 4100 South reconstruction project turned into a little over $19 million, nearly 29 percent over the estimate. 

“Which was a pretty big hit,” City Engineer Dan Johnson told the West Valley City Council during its study meeting in early April. “It’s more a statement on where the construction market is today.”

The $15 million estimate by city engineers was a little higher than they expected, but after UDOT opened bids on the project, the lowest proposal was $19,389,875, leaving the projected estimate $4.3 million short.

UDOT generally wants money up front, but will allow city officials flexibility to pay the additional funds as the project progresses. Though UDOT would like to see the city continue its dedication to the project, ergo the reason for the resolution. 

“I don’t see us having any alternative other than to move forward,” said Councilman Steve Buhler. 

Amounts increased on several items not anticipated by city officials including mobilization and traffic control preconstruction survey ($1.4 million); roadway excavation, imported filling and road base and asphalt paving ($1.3 million); concrete posts and panel walls ($500,000); landscaping, signals and other improvements ($600,000); and storm drain and water systems ($500,000). 

Road excavation, Johnson explained, was estimated to be about $8 a yard, but the bid came back at $22 a yard. He said they based the $8 on UDOT’s public construction cost index which had roadway excavation at 5 percent, but jumped to 14 percent. Johnson said they weren’t sure why it jumped and thought they were high with an $8 estimate. 

Part of the issue, Johnson said, is there are limited contractors who can do this type of full road rebuild. “They’re just busy,” he said, noting the amount of transportation projects happening such as Mountain View Corridor.  

And, Mayor Ron Bigelow added, the prices will go up “to drink in all that’s available.” 

Possible funding sources discussed by city officials in the April 2 meeting included rebalancing the costs with Granger Hunter Improvement District (a partner for the project), legislative appropriations, the general fund, reassessing the aesthetic for the walls, class C road funds, the storm water utility fund and state transportation funds. 

Bigelow said though there are questions about funding, “the commitment is still there to move forward with the project.”