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LTD Faces Big Utility Bills For EmX Expansion

Expansion of Lane Transit District’s EmX bus rapid system into west Eugene could run up utility costs to LTD exceeding $9.2 million, according to a memo sent July 28 to the EWEB board from EWEB Engineering Manager Mel Damewood and planner Jon Thomas. The memo was on the agenda for the Aug. 5 EWEB board meeting as an information item and no board action was anticipated.

An intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between EWEB and LTD calls for LTD to reimburse EWEB for any costs associated with relocating utilities that conflict with the expansion. The IGA deals with water mains, fire hydrants, power lines and other infrastructure above and below ground.

“To date, LTD has issued EWEB purchase orders for the design and relocations of EWEB utilities totaling $2,197,051,” reads the memo. “Further relocation designs, Scope of Work and Purchase Order requests are forthcoming. Based on estimates of LTD’s 30 percent design, EWEB’s relocation costs could exceed $9.2 million.”

LTD’s spokesman Andy Vobora tells EW, “The cost for utility relocation was greater than expected and a piece of the higher-than-expected guaranteed maximum price. We have healthy contingencies built in the budget so our expectation is we will still come in under the original budget.” 

Conflicts along the route have not all been identified and evaluated, so the final costs passed along to LTD could be greater or less. And LTD has not yet acquired all the easements for EWEB utilities in the right-of-way.  

Some of the work will benefit EWEB’s infrastructure. For example, an 8-inch steel water main installed in 1935 is scheduled for replacement “to avoid being left under the new EmX bus line,” according to the memo. — Ted Taylor