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26th Street costs coming in lower than expected

Payout of $12 million before BOE. No word yet of what CSX might pay.

26th st retaining wall

Employees of Concrete General were working on the temporary retaining wall at 26th Street last week.

Photo by: Mark Reutter

The Board of Estimates will be asked Wednesday to pay $12 million to the prime contractor rebuilding the 26th Street retaining wall, indicating that the project may come in below the original $18.6 million estimate.

Scheduled at the board’s weekly meeting is a $11,986,560.88 award to Concrete General Inc., which was given the no-bid contract after the original 100-year-old retaining wall collapsed on April 30, sending cars, trees and a section of 26th Street crashing onto the CSX rail line below.

The funds will cover Concrete General’s work from the time of the wall collapse through December 31, 2014.

The Beltsville-based company is responsible for building a temporary wall to shore up residential buildings on 26th Street and then a permanent wall to restore the collapsed block between Charles and St. Paul streets in lower Charles Village.

There will be additional costs for the project, including design work by Whitman, Requardt & Associates and water main and sewer replacement by the Department of Public Works.

Adrianne Barnes, a city spokesperson, said the price of the wall replacement may turn out to be lower than estimated, but “we can’t definitively say.”

Original Estimate

The original $18,563,863 estimate included a number of “worst-case” scenarios that made the project one of the city’s costliest emergency repairs – far above the $7 million cost of the Monument Street sinkhole and $2 million for the collapsed drainpipe on the Jones Falls Expressway.

Among them were $2.5 million for extra design work, $1.2 million for construction contingencies, and $500,000 for train “flagging” and other costs to CSX, which has operated freight trains through the damaged area with minimal disruption.

The Rawlings-Blake administration agreed to pay for the new wall with city funds (they came from land recordation tax revenues) and said it plans to negotiate with CSX its responsibility and share of the costs.

The railroad has indicated it will pay something, but there has yet to be an announcement of cost sharing by the two parties.

Residents on the unit block of East 26th Street were able to return to their residences last month, although the street is blocked off except for a narrow, fenced-off sidewalk accessing the houses.

William M. Johnson, director of the Department of Transportation, is expected to provide an oral report of the project’s progress to the five-member spending board headed by City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

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  • I hate liberals

    This is why they have Lawyers

  • Michael Keith

    It is Concrete General, not General Concrete…

    • baltimorebrew

      Thanks for catching the slip-up. I have corrected. MR

  • ushanellore

    CSX thy name is Trickster.

  • BmoreFree

    Maybe the city can install a gate and charge for each train passing through until it gets its money back?

  • bmorepanic

    Doncha wonder if public works-transportation are going to spend the excess money on other projects? Bait & Switch budget planning is their specialty.

    • snarkycomments

      Shouldn’t public works money not spent on one project be used on other projects? It’s not like there’s not plenty of projects in need of funding around here. Maybe I’m missing your point or there’s some specific issue you’re referring to?

      • bmorepanic

        The entire amount was taken from the general fund as an emergency appropriation, specifically for this project – as far as I know, it’s not excess funds but will cause other cuts or borrowings. So, no, I don’t think they should use it for another project.

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