PPN price tag at $115 million/Community questions the project’s rising cost

The budget for the Phase 2 reconstruction of the northern side of Pelham Parkway is much larger than Phase 1 on the southern side because of much more involved infrastructure. Pictured is Pelham Parkway North, which will be rebuilt as part of Phase 2.

Those following the northside re-construction of Pelham Parkway may be getting answers to questions about the project’s ultimate cost.

Some Community Board 11 members and community members from other organizations recently questioned the huge $115 million price tag for the upcoming Phase 2 reconstruction on the northside of the parkway.

The agency in charge of the project, the NYC Department of Design and Construction, said that the work on the second part of Pelham Parkway’s reconstruction is much more involved than the first, completed in 2015.

According to DDC, the much more substantial scope of the work on the roadways and underground infrastructure in Phase 2 accounts for much of the roughly $75 million difference.

“They are claiming it is a bigger project and they are claiming that there is more work that needs to be done,” said John Fratta, Community Board 11 liaison for the reconstruction project.

A DDC spokesman said in a statement that the increase in cost partly involved the inclusion of rebuilding sewer and water mains, the scope of which adds $30 million to the contract.

“The difference (in cost between) the two phases of the Pelham Parkway project is mainly because of the (NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s) participation and the need to replace water mains and sewers in Phase 2,” stated a DDC spokesman in an email. “In the 1st phase there was no DEP funding.”

The spokesman stated that Phase 2 includes types of work that were not part of Phase 1: the construction of a large sewer chamber, the installation of an improved drainage system and pile driving activities.

Original projections for the budget on Phase 2 also had to be increased because the time frame for the project increased from two years to four years, according to the DDC spokesman.

“Monthly recurring items like field office costs, maintenance of site, traffic control agents, flag persons and others is doubled,” stated DDC’s spokesman, also adding “The inflation factor unfortunately means prices go up year to year for the same quantity of work.”

Fratta said he is planning on having further meetings with DDC to discuss the issues.

He said sewer and water main work was included in Phase 1, but added that based on what he is being told, work on Phase 2 infrastructure is much more complicated.

“The price is the price, we want to make sure it gets done right this time and it is not botched up,” said Fratta, referring to a roadway paving job in the Phase 1 reconstruction that showed signs of needing repair within the first year and is scheduled to be redone.

CB 11 chairman Tony Vitaliano said he recalls estimates for Phase 2 being lower during initial planning several years ago.

Vitaliano said recently that he believed the city should justify the expense, while also expressing his displeasure that the contractor who won the bidding on the project was the Phase 1 contractor.

Phase 1 was completed at a $38.543 million cost on a contract originally bid at $36.165 million, according to DDC.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Tony Vitaliano, CB 11 chairman, said that he recalled initial cost estimates from several years ago being lower for Pelham Parkway’s Phase 2 reconstruction then its current budget.
Walter Pofeldt

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