Although the steep drop in gas prices did not come early enough to factor into the city of Columbus’ $4.5 million infrastructure improvement project, city project manager Robin Eastman says work is coming in on schedule and under budget.
“It looks at this point like we’ll be able to go back to the council and report that we can do some additional paving that wasn’t in the original plan,” Eastman told The Dispatch on Thursday.
The project is being financed by a $5 million bond approved by the city in June.
Councilmen presented projects totaling $6,314,030, but that list was narrowed down to meet the amount of money available.
Work began Oct. 15 with paving in Ward 1. Eastman said 80 percent of the paving in Ward 1 is now complete.
“Right now, we’re getting ready to do some work in Ward 3 on Bennett, West Lehmberg and Canon Trace roads,” Eastman said. “They’ll pave in that area…then take off for the holiday and go back to work on Jan. 5.”
Eastman said while gas prices, which affect the cost of asphalt, were higher in September when the project was bid out, the cost of asphalt is lower than was originally projected.
“The price we had in place was $100 per ton, but it’s actually coming in at $94 dollars a ton,” Eastman said. “That’s the lowest it’s been in three years, so that’s going to mean we can go back and add some paving that didn’t make it into the original plan.”
The contract deadline is May 30 and Eastman said the work is on pace to meet that deadline.
“To this point, we’ve finished 16 percent of the total project,” he said.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is email@example.com.