Lets Rehabilitate the Existing Beautiful Historic Skinners Falls Bridge!!!!
If not, what is Milanville In for???
Let me begin by stating that rehabilitating the current Milanville Bridge ( known to most of us as the Skinners Falls Bridge ) is a significantly better idea than replacing the bridge for many reasons.
On a practical level, one must do a simple search on Google for Bridge Project Cost Overruns to find out that replacing the Milanville Bridge instead of rehabilitating it will be a much more expensive undertaking than we may be led to believe.
In many instances of new bridge construction around the country, contractors constructing new bridges site 1) huge cost overruns and 2) other unforeseen engineering issues that delay completion of the overdue project and add millions more to the cost. One may find that the cost estimates of new unsightly bridges may actually cost significantly more than an aesthetically pleasing rehabilitation of the existing bridge.
One reads of all too many stories whereby those in the trenches state that their projects turned out to be the “worst managed” and “most bureaucratic bungled” projects they have encountered.
Once construction begins, communities are held hostage to complete these projects that have already started. After sometimes years of delays with the associated bridge closing during this time, communities are stuck trying to get these issues resolved. Where is the extra money going to come from? Many feel that the resources would have been better off placed in new ambulances, firetrucks and health care facilities in the area. The millions should have been left locally. Instead, the contractors and engineers made all the money.
Often times huge delays occur because contractors stop work until they can get paid for the “additional work” that they have encountered. They can claim that the engineers did not adequately take into account soft soil in the river, delays caused by law suits filed by environmental groups, bad weather, interference by recreational users of property near the construction, etc. Contractors then can walk away from the project until the “issues get resolved” Yes, the issues mean more money. Where will that come from. Project delays can take years to resolve.
We’ve all read of projects that have experienced these myriad of problems, including a shortfall of anticipated funds, that then go through new comprehensive reviews to determine ways to rescue the bridge project from sinking. Who suffers? We do. Delays can take years and millions more have to be found. Sometimes the monies are not found. What then?
This all underscores the foolishness of initiating a project without fully understanding what it’s going to really cost and how to pay for it when things inevitably go wrong. We’ve all read of contractors claiming that a bridge construction could drag on for years because of fundamentally flawed” design problems and unreasonable demands for construction methods.
Often times additional funds must be found to improve the roads leading up to the bridge. This leads to more delays and significant disruption to the local community. These additional improvements generally were not included in the cost estimates of the bridge. Afterall, these are not “bridge expenses”, these are “local road expenses” they say.
We’ve also read of arguments between contractors and engineers disputing who is to blame for disputed design problems and cost overruns. Do we want to be involved in all this?
Headlines like those below could be in our future if we allow a new bridge to be constructed instead of simply rehabilitating what we have now. “Despite cost overruns and years of delays, engineering firm states that they have full confidence in our design of the bridge,” . “Despite cost overruns and years of delay, multiple independent reviewers have confirmed the suitability, structural integrity and constructability of the design. “Despite cost overruns and years of delay, minor design clarifications are typical on complex projects”. “Contractors claim that an unusually high number of change orders have occurred during construction of this project causing cost overruns and years of delays”. “Latest grievance involves a change in procedure for removing bridge forms, similar to scaffolding, that is potentially is dangerous for construction workers and could extend the project by as much as six months or more and cost another few million dollars.“ What was supposed to be a 2.5-year project is now in its fifth year,” .
In conclusion, I believe it is best to rehabilitate the beautiful historic bridge that we have. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.
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