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Costs rising for repairs on Quincy infrastructure

More than a year into a $25.4 million capital improvement plan, the cost of remedying some of Quincy’s biggest infrastructure woes is on its way up.

Among the issues are higher-than-expected costs for roof repairs, drainage and flooding issues that will need pricey, long-term fixes, and sea wall damage that will cost much more than the amount appropriated for the problem.

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While the city has no plans to expand the $25.4 million plan, officials are looking at such measures as reallocating spending, seeking extra funding from outside sources, or even issuing bonds.

City councilors reviewed projects at a meeting last week, examining work underway in the city and analyzing the ever-increasing cost. The first issue encountered by engineers was the condition of school roofs.

“When we developed the original estimates to go forward with the bond, it was industry standards and myself and others going out to look at the roofs. We also worked with two companies that supply roofing materials,” said Gary Cunniff, director of public buildings. “The specialists looked at it with a critical eye, and took a longer-term approach.”

The result was a larger project, the cost rising from a $2.4 million estimate to $4 million.

Some projects were removed from the capital improvement plan to free up money, but Beechwood Knoll Elementary School will not receive a roof replacement at all because of the increased costs.

Councilors suggested that project estimates be more precise in the future to minimize such impacts. “Maybe use a different technique to get an estimate, because this was more than just change in cost,” Councilor Doug Gutro said.

Some flooding projects in the city will also require more extensive fixes.

After an analysis, engineers determined that “the city had significantly more drainage problems,’’ and will need “significantly more money to solve all their drainage problems,” said Joseph Shea Jr., senior vice president of Woodard & Curran. The company is the city’s water engineer and is analyzing flooding issues throughout Quincy.

For the Miller Street/Cross Street/Furnace Avenue neighborhood, a $900,000 project intended to install a pumping station and improve drainage will not be nearly enough to solve the problems in the area.

“The need for this neighborhood to have a full solution is not in the million [dollar] range; it’s in the $10 million range,” Shea said. “The goal is to stage the solution of this neighborhood over multiple years.”

A long-term, $8 million to $10 million project would be designed to keep water from the brook out of the neighborhood, where the overflowing brook has caused severe flooding in the past.

Water flowing off the highway would also be rerouted. Any additional water coming in to the area would be brought to an open space area between Adams Street and the Bernazzani School by a large pumping station.

To pay for the project, Woodard & Curran is seeking $8 million to $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. An application for the funding is due in December.

City officials purchased land in the area for a pumping station on Furnace Avenue this year with $485,000. That purchase is a matter of contention with some councilors, who say the city didn’t follow proper procedures in the purchase. But on Monday, councilors voted 6-to-3 against sending the dispute to the state Inspector General’s Office.

Elsewhere, a pumping station at Alrick Road may also cost more than anticipated. Of the $900,000 allotted for the project, approximately $800,000 remains, but the total cost could rise to as high as $1 million. Engineers won’t know specifics until the work goes out to bid next spring.

Sea wall fixes will also be costly.

While the capital improvement plan set aside $4.5 million to fix the Edgewater Drive sea wall, the analysis shows about $12.9 million of work is needed.

While analysis of city infrastructure details much more work to come, the update also reported many projects that had been finished or started, including street repairs, sidewalk repairs, capital purchases, and roof repairs to schools.

Extensive permitting continues for sea wall and flooding projects throughout the city. Engineers are seeking federal and state funding when possible to leverage city funding.

Reach Jessica Bartlett at jessica.may.bartlett@gmail.com.
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