JUNEAU, Alaska — The Blue Lake dam expansion near Sitka will go over estimates by $3.6 million.
The Sitka assembly received the news Tuesday night from utility manager Chris Brewton. The original price tag for expansion of the dam, including new backup diesel generators, was $142 million, reports KCAW (http://bit.ly/NzNftP).
Most of the overrun comes from the construction of a temporary water filtration plant at Indian River. The temporary filtration system was budgeted for $2 million, but Brewton now estimates the total cost to be $4.7 million.
An additional cost overrun is in debris removal. It was initially budgeted for around $1.5 million. Total costs now are at $2.3 million, $800,000 over the original budget.
Sitka will rely on water from Indian River for up to four months, starting in late August, when work on the dam will shut off access to Blue Lake, the city's regular water source.
Brewton said that when the dam expansion is complete, Blue Lake will inundate more than 360 acres of currently dry land, drowning trees, shrubs and undergrowth that will eventually die and rise to the surface. That debris then has to be removed.
Brewton said original numbers had been a rough guess by his department. As project engineers completed the final design over several months, he said, it became more clear that final costs were going to be much higher.
The assembly approved a contract with Sitka-based ASRC McGraw Constructors LLC to handle the debris removal. It also approved the increased project cost.
Information from: Daily Sitka (Alaska) Sentinel, http://www.sitkasentinel.com/