There has been much discussion and consternation over the bridge. Two years ago we replaced the 8th street bridge with more decorative elements for $8 million. So how is it that the new rebuild will be $21 million? Some argue that it has to do with the multiple steps in this rebuild. Some argue inflation. Others have told me that since it is ARPA money they need to shove it out the door. There has been requests (not by me) that the Council does it’s own independent audit and investigation (they have this ability in the charter) or that the Feds should look into RICO violations. Others in the private engineering sector have all come to the same conclusion; this ‘deal’ probably didn’t magically come together by itself but with collusion and pressure from certain downtown developers and contractors.
Rumors be damned!
One of the sticking points the Public Works Director Mark Cotter used to trick the city council into voting for the Bunker Bridge was that is was unsafe. Holes have been blown into that argument;
And in the most recent inspection of the Sixth Street Bridge, done in 2020, inspectors assigned its overall structural integrity a 4 based on a 0-9 grading system, according to a review of data by The Dakota Scout. While not great, a 4 means a bridge “meets minimum tolerable limits to be left in place as is,” according to federal criteria.
But it didn’t take Joe and Jon needling thru Federal Safety inspections to see the obvious; if this bridge is so unsafe why have they allowed large heavy machinery and building materials to go across this bridge all summer? Even Councilor Neitzert pointed out at the meeting, if it is so bad, why don’t you close it?
I decided to dig thru the bid tabulation sheet to see if I could find any wiggle room, this is what I found;
• Mobilization: $4,341,000
• Temporary Works: $2,610,000
I have no doubt these are actual expenses but I find that the two biggest expenditures in this bid are NOT broken down. This would be a very easy place to pad the bid. I think council needs to ask the contractor to break this down for them.
• Class A45 Concrete, Bridge Deck: $4,914,420
Concrete will be a big expenditure for this bridge, but with the way that prices are fluctuating it would be hard to say this is actual. Heck, it could be more or this number could also be padded.
I also would like to go into some smaller numbers that really make you scratch your head;
• Benches: 3 at $4,000 each
Looks like I need to get into the steel bench making business!
• Relocate LSS Monument Sign: $25,000
Seems the sign relocation business is very lucrative also (they probably run a side business making benches).
• Sprinkler System: $56,000
Just in case the bike trail catches on fire and doesn’t spread to the concrete bridge.
• Water Meter & Backflow Assembly with Enclosures: 2 at $7,500 each.
Not sure if they are planning on opening a laundromat or spray park on the bridge itself?
• Waterfowl Grazing Control: $4,700
You might as well throw this money in a burn barrel, because whatever they are doing currently on this part of the bike trail downtown ISN’T WORKING!!!!!!
Not to mention how many more millions will we have to endure with change orders? There have been rumors that the Water Reclamation Plant is extremely over budget due to change orders. But hey, we needed a dented up entertainment facility more then clean water.