Airport Basin sees another increase

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By Jennifer Garcia

The Airport Basin project inched closer to completion during Tuesday night’s County Council meeting when Guaranteed Maximum Price #3 was approved by councilors.

As the project grows, so does the cost; or so it seems. Capital Projects Manager and Facilities Director Anne Laurent was in council chambers Tuesday night seek approval of GMP #3.

During the presentation by Laurent, she said that GMP #3 will authorize all of the remaining work items except for remaining asphalt pavement.

According to county documents, the final lift of asphalt will be applied to the access road along with other site paving beginning in late spring and ending in the early fall of 2009, when the majority of the heavy construction vehicles have completed on-site work.

Asphalt prices remain high and the current price is only guaranteed for 30 days, therefore, county staff has deferred the asphalt GMP to a subsequent GMP (#4), which they anticipate bringing before council in April 2009.

“We’re coming back this evening with GMP #3. We wanted to do the remainder of the work, but we want to exclude asphalt,” Laurent said.

In regard to the price of asphalt, she said that it is currently priced at $84 a ton.

“What we have at this point is just under $1 million left in that GMP and we still have to buy the asphalt,” she continued. “At today’s price the asphalt is about $1 million.”

Councilor Fran Berting asked Laurent if the over- run comes out of the contract the county signed with contractor Hensel Phelps. “They were to eat any over runs during their contract management,” Berting commented.

  “The asphalt had a plus or minus allowance. Any money that is not used out of this escalation or risk contingency at the end of the project comes back to the county anyway,” Laurent said. “We’re hopeful that the cost is going in the right direction. If the cost of asphalt exceeded the $964,000 we have left, there’s a good chance we’ll come back to council and ask for more money in April.”

Councilor Nona Bowman expressed her concerns with the prospect of a fourth GMP being presented to council. “Is there any other thing we could cut to make sure the project stays on budget?” she asked Laurent.

  Laurent said that they are looking for opportunities to cut costs. “We’re questioning what we need. We need to take a hard look at equipment. We still need to look at equipment and furniture. At the last GMP, our risk contingency was down,” she noted.

Council Chairman Jim Hall questioned Laurent as to why the final construction documents were a month late. “They were late getting completed,” she said. “There were some scope items that had questions.”

Though the council seemed skeptical that the project would stay within budget, Councilor Ken Milder moved to approve the motion which increases GMP #3 to $51,666,636. The motion passed 6-0.