June 20, 2018
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Cape Elizabeth walking path project runs $165,000 over budget, with flaggers costing most

Will Graff | The Forecaster
Will Graff | The Forecaster
Workers topple a tree to make way for the Shore Road path on July 5, 2012. The town spent about $165,000 more than expected on the project, which was dedicated in October 2012.
By Will Graff, The Forecaster

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — The town spent about $165,000 more than expected for construction of the Shore Road path.

The largest cost overrun was for traffic flaggers.

Public Works Director Bob Malley said the project went over its $1 million budget in several areas. He said there was a need for additional drainage systems, clearing of extra trees, engineering fees and the installation of concrete sidewalks in some areas, instead of less expensive asphalt.

A 10 percent contingency fund was exhausted, and an additional $65,000 was spent.

“It’s like anything when you design and build things; there’s unforeseen conditions,” Malley said. He added that cost overruns for flaggers is common, according to state project managers.

The town budgeted $58,500 for flaggers, but spent about $144,000, according to its invoices.

Malley said a lump sum was initially budgeted for flaggers, to be paid to the contractor, L.P. Murray & Sons of Cape Elizabeth.

But under a stipulation of the project’s $729,000 Maine Department of Transportation grant, the town had to pay a higher unit cost for the flaggers than had been expected.

Town Manager Michael McGovern said the town was able to save money in some areas and that the money to cover the spending overruns will come from savings made throughout the year in other areas.

“The expectation is that you save in other areas; save a little bit here, you save a little bit there,” he said, noting the town saved on worker’s compensation and health-care expenses last year. “I’m concerned about (the path cost), but at same time, it was important to get the project done.”

While the majority of the funding for the path came from the state grant, $110,000 was raised privately. The remaining $160,000 came from the town.

The 2.2-mile, 5-foot wide pathway extends from Fort Williams Park south to the intersection with Ocean House Road [Route 77]. Construction began in June 2012 and the project was dedicated in October 2012.

The project still has a few minor pieces remaining and will not be complete until spring, Malley said.

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