Spillway project cost estimate:$14.1 million

Spillway project cost estimate:$14.1 million

Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 9:08 pm
By: John Brannon Messenger Staff Reporter

By JOHN BRANNON Messenger Staff Reporter A cost estimate of the proposed new spillway and bridge complex at Reelfoot Lake has been made by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Officials estimate a construction cost of $14.1 million, but it could be higher. The overall project includes a new spillway and channel and a new bridge. The current spillway structure on State Route 22 on the south shore of the lake was built in 1931. It serves a dual purpose — a two-lane bridge and a 20-gate spillway. The proposed new spillway and bridge would be separate structures. “The estimated cost for the roadway portion of the bridge and approach project and the spillway channel and associated work is based on the right of way quantity estimate and TDOT’s 2007 Average Unit Prices,” said Julie Oaks, TDOT public information officer. “These estimates do not include cost of right of way or utilities for either of these projects.” Construction costs Estimated construction costs are: • Bridge and approach project. (Does not include bridge). $2.06 million “The major portion of this cost is $1.2 million for graded solid rock for fill material and a temporary run-around construction,” she said. • Spillway. $9.65 million. Ms. Oakes explains that in September 2001, a consultant engineer firm developed a cost estimate of $5.6 million. “Using an assumed inflation factor of 8 percent for seven years, the cost of the spillway in 2008 numbers would be $9.65 million,” she said. • Spillway channel, including filling in front of the existing spillway, associated rod work. $4.47 million. • Total cost of the spillway and channel: $14.1 million. The overall figure will be higher when the estimated cost of the new bridge is added. The Messenger has asked TDOT for an estimate of construction of the bridge. Time frame “We had previously estimated that the complete project would take 18 to 24 months,” Ms. Oakes said. “Since the eagles’ nest will not affect the majority of the projects, this timeframe should be OK.” She refers to an abandoned eagle’s nest in a cypress tree about 600 feet from the construction site. Built in 2001, the nest has been used by a pair of bald eagles only one year. It has not been used in three years. According to stringent conditions contained in a 404 water quality permit issued to TDOT by the state Department of Environment & Conservation, “there shall be no construction during the normal breeding season (Oct. 15-May 31) of endangered and/or protected (American bald eagle) in the vicinity of 600 feet of the project.” What this means is that although the nest mentioned is empty and has been empty for years, if a pair of eagles decides to move in and take up housekeeping, construction of the spillway must halt and cannot be resumed until June 1 of the following year. No mention is made of whether the state would have to continue paying contractors whose work is interrupted several months for environmental reasons. Permit pending A decision by the Memphis District Office, U.S. Corps of Engineers, on whether to issue a permit to Tennessee to proceed with the Reelfoot project is pending. Corps officials said last week they expect to make a decision “within two weeks,” meaning by Aug. 10. A Corps permit would allow the state to proceed with purchase of right of way and construction. Published in The Messenger 7.30.08

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