Plant ex­pected to open in 2014

Plant

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Con­tin­ued from B COUN­CIL AC­TIONS Con­tact Marty Toohey at 445-3673.

city staff said the project was di­vided into 13 sub­pro­jects, partly to get the en­deavor mov­ing and take ad­van­tage of postre­ces­sion pric­ing with­out wait­ing for the de­sign to be fin­ished. The sub­pro­jects were de­signed and bid over sev­eral years. A price guar­an­tee kicked in only once the fi­nal con­tract was signed.

Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Howard Lazarus said last month that when the coun­cil ap­proved that ap­proach in 2009, the project was 20 per­cent de­signed — and that projects at that stage typ­i­cally fin­ish any­where from 15 per­cent be­low bud­get to 30 per­cent over bud­get.

Tovo noted that ac­tivists had warned that the es­ti­mated price tag was too low to carry out nec­es­sary en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec- tions, and that costs would rise as those pro­tec­tions were put in place.

Austin Water Util­ity Di­rec­tor Greg Meszaros said that when the city was con­sid­er­ing changes to a ma­jor water line as­so­ci­ated with the project he told coun­cil mem­bers the change could add $50 mil­lion to the cost. The staff didn’t pur­sue the idea.

The plant is ex­pected to open in 2014. As other costs of the project have come in higher than ex­pected, city staff has cut parts of the project deemed non-es­sen­tial and in some cases have found ways to do the work more ef­fi­ciently.

If all of the work orig­i­nally planned were car­ried out, it would cost $60 mil­lion above the $508 mil­lion bud­get.

City man­age­ment cut por­tions of the project that won’t be needed for many years, but will add them later.

Leff­in­g­well noted that costs are less than 1 per­cent off ini­tial pro­jec­tions.

“That to me is re­mark­able with a project this big, half a bil­lion dol­lars,” Leff­in­g­well said. At its Thurs­day meet­ing, the Austin City Coun­cil: Changed name of Arena Drive to Shore­line Drive. Ap­proved spend­ing up to $6.8 mil­lion to ren­o­vate AustinBergstrom In­ter­na­tional Air­port’s ter­mi­nal.

Re­pealed a 1960s-era or­di­nance set­ting speed lim­its for am­bu­lances.

Ap­proved up to $75,000 for the salary of a project co­or­di­na­tor for the Waller Creek Con­ser­vancy.

Au­tho­rized Austin po­lice to re­im­burse Austin schools up to $12,000 for gang preven­tion and in­ter­ven­tion train­ing.

De­cided to ap­ply for up to $382,000 from the Texas De­part­ment ofTrans­porta­tion for the first phase of a project to build a side­walk and pedes­trian bridge on the west side of Decker Lane, from Loy­ola to Daf­fan lanes.

De­cid­ed­to­paytheUniver­si­ty­ofNorthTex­a­s­upto$645,000 to­con­tin­ue­do­ing­na­tive-plantrestora­tiona­longLakeAusti­nand LadyBirdLake.

Di­rected the city man­ager to con­duct a fol­low-up report on the city’s ef­forts to re­lieve the back­log in its per­mit-re­view de­part­ment.

Post­poned to­Jan.17 con­sid­er­a­tion ofa pi­lot pro­gram al­low­ing 24-hou­ruse ofthe But­lerHike and Bike­Trail around Lake Bird Lake,the Shoal CreekTrail and theJohn­son CreekTrail.

Set a Dec. 13 hear­ing to con­sider al­low­ing Wheatsville Food Co-Op to sell al­co­holic bev­er­ages de­spite a city pro­hi­bi­tion against sell­ing it within 300 feet of a pub­lic school.

Gave pre­lim­i­nary ap­proval to re­zone 300 E. Fifth St. to ac­com­mo­date a 300-room up­scale ho­tel.

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