Thursday, October 18, 2012

ODOT's Budget Busting Bridge: Fiasco on Highway 20

The Register Guard just finished a four-part series on the Highway 20 Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville fiasco. If you are confident in the $687 million estimate for the River Crossing and think it has a small margin of error, the series is a must-read! 

And if you're not confident, it will just intensify your doubts.

ODOT:  Bridge Demolition on US 20:  Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville
Things were so bad that they had to demolish newly constructed bridge elements!

The four parts (and two sidebars):

Part 1: Oregon’s $300 million  roadway to frustration: How straightening out a dangerous highway became a fiasco
Road’s deadly past drove reconstruction campaign

Part 2: Decisions plague state when highway work stalls: Three crucial choices lead to bid process being second-guessed

Part 3: Difficult highway project goes downhill—and fast: The state and the builder hit a nature-made wall

Part 4: Salvaging lessons of the Highway 20 project
State struggles to pay for overruns: Escalations in the cost of the Highway 20 project may affect funding for other road improvement needs

It's not likely that a third bridge here would encounter the same mix of geologically unstable soils - but it should make us very wary of placing too much confidence in any cost estimates for projects of this magnitude.

And a rational world, it would make us look much more closely at a mix of smaller and considerably less expensive projects.  

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