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Hudson Bayou Lift Station Project Could Drag On For 2 Years

Osprey Avenue could reopen temporarily while city seeks a new engineering firm.

Osprey Avenue could reopen soon to traffic at Mound Street, but it will just be a tease as work on the Hudson Bayou project will have to start with a new engineering firm and take two years to complete. 

The city will terminate a contract with AECOM Technology Corp., which was responsible for a failed microtunneling technique underneath the Hudson Bayou, also known as Lift Station 87, said special counsel Alan Tannenbaum, during Monday's City Commission meeting. 

"We see a significant engineering problem," he said.

The firm was given a deadline to submit new construction plans to finish the project on Nov. 2, and without those plans, the firm will be found in default, City Manager Tom Barwin said.

The fault lies with both AECOM Technology Corp., and construction firm, Tannenbaum said, but city staff were shocked to find that AECOM never had a written plan to execute its Hudson Bayou project.

"One would have thought that would have been the first design challenge that was tackled back in 2008 and not in 2012," Tannenbaum said, adding that there is no indication that the firm, one of the top in the world, assigned anyone to work on the project.

The ground was too hard, according to records, for the piping to be successful, and pipes cracked.

Fixing what's broke now is going to be a challenge, Interim Utilities Director Bill Hallisey said.

Large vaults have to be filled in, utility systems will have to be reconnected and some basic landscaping will be needed, Hallisey said.

No matter what, Hallisey said, the bayou will be crossed with piping by either microtunneling or siphoning underneath the bayou.

"I'm quite confident we're going to cross the bayou at the current location under one or two methods," Hallisey said.

The shortest amount of time the project could take is 18 months, but two years looks likely, he said.

The city's move to terminate the contract of the engineering firm also allows the city to recoup costs and attorney fees, Tannenbaum said. The $12.5 million project began in 2011.

Related Hudson Bayou Coverage:

  • Osprey Avenue Bridge To Undergo Work
  • Hudson Bayou Safety Tests Continue
  • Sewage Spews From Broken Pipe at Osprey Bridge
  • Construction of Lift Station to Close Portions of Osprey Ave
  • Wastewater Leaks into Hudson Bayou
  • Construction of Lift Station to Close Portions of Osprey Ave
  • Back To School: Osprey Avenue Remains Partially Closed
  • Guest Column: Lift Station Construction Continues Despite Pipeline Delay


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