Wednesday, April 16, 2014

More On Ohio River Bridge Boondoggle: Tunnel's Cost Skyrockets $78 Million

The Urbanophile's Aaron Renn has done a great job of keeping track of just how bad of a deal the administration of former Gov. Mitch Daniels brokered with Kentucky officials to build two new bridges over the Ohio River at Louisville, at least one of which was not even needed. The aim seemed to be to figure out a way to make huge payoffs to highway contractors who contributed heavily to Daniels' campaign committee regardless of how much harm it inflicted on Indiana residents.

The East End Bridge's original cost included a controversial tunnel on the Kentucky side of the river to protect a wooded area that was projected to add $260 million to the $2.6 billion project. The approach on the Kentucky side of the bridge alone was projected to cost $753 million, including the cost of the tunnel, leading Hoosiers to shoulder additional construction costs that should have been picked up by the state of Kentucky. Renn picks up on a report in the Louisville Courier-Journal that the tunnel's cost actually skyrocketed by $78 million to $338 million, even as the Daniels administration had made claims that it saved taxpayers $209 million through design changes. Renn's take on this latest development:
At this point I’d have to say it looks like either 1) INDOT created a ludicrously inflated estimate for the tunnel right before construction that was used for the purpose of generating bogus claims of savings, or 2) They were suppressing knowledge that the tunnel was vastly more expensive than they were telling the public. Take your pick.


Anonymous said...

You saw this coming in posts...for many years...Many also did..and kept silent...some didn't keep silent...Ponder it all...Thank you Gary for all you do...Be safe...

Anonymous said...

Tunnels are a horrible idea, as they psychologically slow drivers, and they limit future widening.

All sound planning avoids tunnels. Louisville isn't Seattle. It's not difficult to avoid a hillside in Louisville.

Anonymous said...

Project cost overruns should come as no surprise to anyone.

Take a look at:

"Underestimating Costs in Public Works Projects Error or Lie?"

A good example is the Palladium in Carmel. A project which was sold to the public with a price tag of $80,000,000, but which ultimately escalated to costing over $175,000,000! The public were told that the yearly operational cost to the taxpayer would be $300,000 / year but actually have been requiring $1,000,000's / year.

Until the public holds the political perpetrators legally responsible, why would we expect anything to change. For some reason, because politicians are involved, these projects are given a pass on accountability.