City wants BPCA to pay for West Thames bridge cost overruns

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Update April 18, 2013- The BPCA board met on the 16th and voted to fund for a $2 Million design of the West Thames bridge. Currently, the bridge is a very speculative idea with no real architectural plans. Therefore, estimated costs are absurd guesses. Moreover, the city is still wanting the BPCA to be on the hook for cost overruns.

March 6, 2013 By Steven E. Greer

The BPCA meeting held on February 27th featured a team from the city presenting for the first time the very preliminary plans for the West Thames pedestrian bridge. The previous plans of four years ago are no longer in play.

The city plan presented was “very conceptual”, and likely to not represent the actual final bridge. The city duo, led by Jeff Mandel, explained, “We felt we had to show you something…ignore the color…the design”. Major design details, such as whether there will be a roof to the bridge, or whether there will be one or four elevators, have yet to be decided. The uncertainty made the estimated cost of $27.5 Million quite speculative.

Prudently, BPCA Chairman Mehiel and BPCA board member Martha Gallo explained the bad experience with Pier A, whereby the BPCA assumed control of that project, and is now on the hook for the ever increasing cost overruns. The city team refused to accept risk for the cost overruns, or absolve the BPCA from those responsibilities. Moreover, the city wants the BPCA to be the first party to fork over cash, in the form of $2 Million to fund the “environmental studies”. The city/state entity of the LMDC would then pitch in $20 Million for construction costs or the BPCA would first pay for those costs and be reimbursed by the LMDC later. Finally, the city plan would be for the BPCA to finish up the construction with the final $5.5 Million. The timing of the BPCA being last to pay makes it even more likely that the BPCA would be responsible for inevitable cost overruns.

No plans were voted upon, and any final decisions will be made in the future. The city estimated that groundbreaking could take place by November of 2013, with construction lasting all of 2014 and well into 2015. The west side of the bridge would drop down where the West Thames dog run currently stands.

SHoP Architects drawings

SHoP Architects drawings

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