Los Osos sewer project needs another $6 million
June 12, 2013
OPINION By TOM SALMON
Less than a year into the Los Osos Wastewater Project construction we are beginning to see the change orders we expected all along. A week ago, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors began the trend, approving a $200,000 amendment to a biological monitoring contract to avoid the threatened shoulderband snail.
Next week, over $5 million will be approved to amend contracts with the engineering and construction management firms. These firms have already raked in over $13 million on contracts signed in late 2011 are ready to re-up for duration of the project. One might ask why their original contracts weren’t penned that way to begin with. As predicted the low bid firm takes a calculated risk, knowing it will be made up in change orders and contract amendments.
Each of these firms has burned through their agreed upon prices and their time schedules. With more snails encountered; more laterals needing redesign, a sewer plant still in design phase and the Giacommazzi site yet to be purchased.
Cost overruns will be commonplace. The irony is, not one of the three contract amendments mentioned above puts pipe in the ground. For a “shovel ready project” more pencils than shovels are at work.
The additional $6 million will be $1,428 per household. This just the first large change order, when the design is finished, plant on line we could expect nearly a 20 percent increase.
Tom Salmon, is a longtime Los Osos resident with 35 years of expertise in statewide public infrastructure.