Tuesday, April 27, 1999

County needs to find $1.6M to cover over-budget cost of riverfront sewers

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The riverfront sewer project being built in conjunction with the overhaul of Fort Washington Way and the new Bengals stadium will cost nearly $1.6 million more than expected.

        Part of that increase is because the sewer work has been expanded to protect more homes from flood ing, said Fred Craig, a consultant for the city's massive Fort Washington Way project.

        In addition, bids for the sewer work have come in higher than expected, in part because of the tight labor market created by all the riverfront construction work, said Patrick Karney, director of the Metropolitan Sewer District.

        With the additional expense, the sewer district estimates the river front sewer work will total nearly $9.7 million. But doing the work after Fort Washington Way and the other riverfront development is finished would cost $27 million, Mr. Karney said.

        “Overall, it's a much, much better deal,” he said.

        The riverfront sewer project will reduce the number of sewage overflows into the river from 65 times a year to four, Mr. Craig said. Offi cials view that as especially important with the big crowds expected on the city's reborn central riverfront.

        The project will eliminate so-called “combined sewer overflows” at Sycamore, Main and Vine streets, Mr. Craig said. Those are points where a rush of storm water — or a flooded river — can push sewage into the river or nearby basements.

        The additional funding would help eliminate the Sycamore overflow and help relieve sewers in Mount Adams, giving those homes relief from flooded basements in bad storms, Mr. Craig said.

        The riverfront project got attention earlier this year when a $620,000 sewer pipe had to be dug up and replaced with a larger pipe at a cost of $385,000.

        Officials have described the orig inal pipe as a temporary fix in a complicated project and have rejected the notion that it was a waste of tax dollars.

        Hamilton County Administrator David Krings said he doesn't know yet where the additional $1.6 million for the project would come from. He expects county commissioners will consider the request for additional funding in the next two weeks.


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