A NEW pedestrian bridge in Horsham has blown over budget by more than $400,000.
Horsham Rural City Council budgeted $1.2 million for the Anzac Centenary Bridge, but the total cost was $1.62 million.
In a report to council, technical services director John Martin said after the project’s original contractor went into administration in May, it became evident the project budget would be exceeded.
The contractor was J&R industries, based at Wangaratta.
Mr Martin said there were many issues with the project and its contractors.
“Slow progress, reports of non-payment of some sub-contractors and persistent poor communication by the contractor led to a series of visits to the company’s base, in Wangaratta from October 2016,” he said.
“This resulted in a number of changes in council’s management of the project, including that all payments to sub-contractors were made directly by council, rather than through the contractor as is normally the case.”
Mr Martin said the contractor also failed to provide a methodology for the assembly phase of the works.
“Some of the component fabrication was not consist with the designs,” he said.
“Significant work was required to rectify defects in the fabricated components and to resource specialist sub-contractors for parts of the project.”
Mr Martin said it appeared the contractor significantly under-estimated the cost to complete the bridge in its tender submission.
He said council committed $240,000 in additional funding from the 2016-17 cash surplus earlier in the year, when it first knew the project would be over budget.
“Works were still underway when those estimates were prepared and all accounts had not been presented,” he said.
“The final wrap-up of the project has shown that this additional funding would still leave a shortfall of $106,937 for the project.
“This includes allowance for the $76,076 security deposit, which has been retained by council and become funds to the project.”
Council resolved at a meeting on Monday night to allocate money it received from the grants commission to the project.
Mayor Pam Clarke said since the bridge opened, foot traffic in the area had increased dramatically.
She said it was a wonderful asset for the community.
Cr Grimble said residents would embrace the new connectivity across the river.
“The finalisation of the bridge was extremely well managed by our staff in difficult situation,” he said.
Mr Martin said there were no outstanding payments to Wimmera sub-contractors that council still needed to make.