A project meant to fix and prevent erosion along a Fort Wayne levee will cost the city 30 percent more than projected, mostly because of extra worker hours needed to install a new product.
The city's Board of Public Works received bids this week for repairs and preventive work at the Edgewater Avenue levee along the Maumee River just east of downtown. The low bid of $813,051 was about 30 percent more than the city's $620,000 estimate.
Board spokeswoman Mary Jane Slaton said much of the extra cost could be attributed to an anti-erosion material called “ScourStop,” which has never been used in Fort Wayne and will require much more labor than city engineers thought.
“Our guys, being unfamiliar with it, did not estimate as many man hours as what the contractor estimated,” Slaton said.
The winning contractor, T-E Inc., estimated the project would require about five times more labor than the city did, Slaton said.
The work, which will begin next week and last through September, is required under new standards adopted by the Army Corps. of Engineers. The stricter guidelines prohibit trees along levees and require more safeguards against erosion along the riverbank.
City Council approved $620,000 for the project last month, but Slaton said the public works department would not go back to council for extra money. Instead, the city would make up the difference using some of the unexpected income tax revenue from a state accounting glitch discovered earlier this year, she said.
ScourStop is a corrugated plastic material that prevents the river from eating away at the levee. Grass, but not trees and other large plants, can grow up through the material, Slaton said.
The city already has removed all trees from along the levee between Dearborn and Tecumseh streets. Other parts of the project will include leveling the tree stumps, adding about three feet of clay to the levee and installing a layer of “riprap,” a covering of rocks meant to stabilize the riverbank, Slaton said.