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Projected Brooklyn Bridge repair costs have more than doubled

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That’s a 60 percent increase since 2010

The projected cost of repairs on the Brooklyn Bridge has hit $811 million — nearly 60 percent more than originally planned, reports the New York Post.

Back when renovations began on the 133-year-old span in the halcyon days of 2010, the expected price tag was $508 million, with a completion date set for April 2014. That, it goes without saying, proved overly optimistic, and in 2015, the Daily News reported that the project was $100 million over budget and another year behind schedule, thanks to newly discovered “major cracks and holes” in the bridge requiring more intensive repairs. The project was then slated for completion in 2016.

But 2016 is coming to a close, the repairs aren’t done, and the cost keeps creeping upwards. According to the Post, the Mayor’s Office of Operations has attributed the issue to “scope changes” and “unforeseen field conditions.” Among the new issues: steel repairs, painting more areas, and “fixing damage to protective shielding caused by a barge incident.” The city now estimates the renovations will wrap up in April 2017.

“Big public projects take too long to complete and routinely run over budget,” Maria Doulis, an analyst for the Citizens Budget Commission, told the Post. “The city has made attempts to be more transparent about this by posting information online,” she acknowledged, “but it’s unclear what actions are being taken to evaluate and address the root causes.”

As things currently stand, the city needs Albany to “grant the Transportation department ‘design-build authority’” — a system the CBC argues is inefficient. Given the number of active bridge-repair projects, they estimate NYC could save “as much as $2 billion over 10 years if it had the same authority the state has for managing bridge construction.”

But the landmark’s problems don’t stop there. The Department of Transportation is also in the process of addressing overcrowding on the bridge. In August, the DOT tapped the firm AECOM to launch as seven-month study of the bridge to figure out if it could support an expansion of the pedestrian pathway, the first step in determining how the bridge might be more accessible.

Not that that’s a small undertaking. “I have to tell you, every time we touch this 133-year-old bridge, it tends to be costly and complex,” DOT commissioner Polly Trottenberg told the Times in August. Indeed.

Brooklyn Bridge

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