Upgrades to a section of Cleveland’s West Shoreway will cost taxpayers millions more than first thought.
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation data reviewed exclusively by newsnet5.com, the project’s West 73rd Street extension project is costing 20 percent more than the initial approved bid.
The street, which opened in December, extended West 73rd Street underneath a railroad bridge, connecting west side neighborhoods with Route 2 and Edgewater Park. It’s part of $95 million in long-term improvements to transform Route 2, which runs parallel to the Lake Erie shoreline, into a pedestrian-friendly boulevard.
Data, reviewed by newsnet5.com, showed the current contract amount stands at more than $25 million, but back in 2013, Hinckley-based Great Lakes Construction’s winning bid was just over $21 million. That’s nearly 20 percent higher than first thought and ODOT records show that number could grow higher once the project is completed.
Records show the project contract has been changed 54 times, which adds to the cost.
ODOT District 12 spokesperson Amanda McFarland declined to answer questions on camera, but in a written statement said the higher costs are due to “unforeseen circumstances, soil conditions and many schedule adjustments.”
She added that the high number of change orders are unusual for ODOT projects, noting that typically, ODOT’s project change orders fall below the industry standard.
Also, despite ODOT records showing the contrary, she estimated the final price will drop to about $24 million.
Near West 73rd Street on Tuesday, retiree Carla Brant, who purchased a home near the lakefront last year, forgave ODOT for the higher price, adding she was pleased to see the project nearing completion.
“We love it. We love the people. We love the neighborhood, “ Brant said. "We love the access to the beach, all the restaurants up here. It’s the reason we moved here.”
Download the newsnet5 app: