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Troubled Seattle bridge project over budget, behind schedule

Aug. 24, 2013 at 4:56 PM

SEATTLE, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Transportation officials said design errors will push an already cash-strapped Seattle bridge project further into the red.

Construction delays and repairs necessary to four massive floating pontoons already installed as part of the Highway 520 bridge project will likely more than eat up the remaining $100 million left in reserve for the project, which now comes with a $4.25 billion price tag, the Seattle Times said.

In addition, the estimated completion date of late 2014 has been pushed more than a year to April 2016, Washington Department of Transportation officials said.

The project, which was already running over budget, came with $250 million in reserves for change orders and other unforeseen problems. The latest setbacks come after $150 million of that reserve fund has already been used up.

The latest problems will cost an estimated $128 million to fix, putting the reserve fund $28 million in the red. Washington DOT spokesman Lars Erikson said the department has not yet decided how to close the budget gap -- and added officials think it's best to wait and see just how close the real world cost of fixing the pontoons is to the estimate.

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