Langley Second Street costs projected to be $250,000 over budget

A crew smooths and brushes a section of sidewalk on May 1 in front of Animal Hospital by the Sea and Langley City Hall. Change orders and additional expenses have totaled $227,319.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
A crew smooths and brushes a section of sidewalk on May 1 in front of Animal Hospital by the Sea and Langley City Hall. Change orders and additional expenses have totaled $227,319.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Facing a projected $250,000 of additional bills for the overhaul of Second Street in downtown Langley, the city’s planning director said it can cover the costs.

Invoices have piled up for the project that included replacing waterlines between Cascade and Anthes avenues, redoing the street and its base, expanding the sidewalks and creating a crosswalk plaza between Callahan’s Firehouse and the South Whidbey Commons. Other work has popped up as the project progressed, such as connecting the Langley post office parking lot to Third Street, replacing the soil on Second Street with a more suitable material, realignment of the Cascade Avenue stormwater line, and moving a fire hydrant into the city’s right of way.

“We have incurred significant extra costs,” said Director of Community Planning Jeff Arango.

The overruns amount to about 11.5 percent of the project’s original $2.2 million revenue budget. Langley is funding more than half of the project with state and federal monies, totaling nearly $1.4 million. About $805,000 worth of city money from the Water Fund, Stormwater Fund and a $412,000 city-council approved bond will cover the rest.

Arango shouldered the blame for not putting in a large enough contingency, a percentage amount of the total project budget to pay for change orders and additional expenses. To cover the extra costs, the city will tap $105,098 from the General Fund, $82,000 from capital reserve and $63,000 from the Water Fund.

“As the project manager, I certainly take responsibility for that,” he said at the city council meeting May 5.

Originally, the Langley City Council had hoped the city would have funds left over from the project’s funding to pay for work elsewhere. On top of the city’s list was a possible replacement of the stairway from Boy and Dog Park to Seawall Park. That was scrubbed after Langley’s Public Works department was able to fix several steps.

“Because we didn’t do that, we have the extra funds to pay for the additional costs,” Arango said.

Much of the work has or will prove useful, city leaders said. The Third Street connection to the post office became crucial when work crews had to close off the Second Street entrance while pouring concrete. Council members asked why the city paid to relocate the fire hydrant, which was by Sweet Mona’s. Mayor Fred McCarthy defended the decision, saying it once leaked into the building’s foundation and moving it onto city property would a safeguard Langley if the problem arises again in the future.

The two least visible changes may be the most important for Langley’s infrastructure. Replacing the type of soil under sections of Second Street should, city leaders hope, hold its shape better than the previous dirt. Realigning the waterline on Cascade Avenue and replacing the waterline on Second Street could also help stabilize the soil. Arango showed a picture of the old waterline — rusted, corroded and clogged. Stan Berryman, the city’s public works director, answered Councilwoman Rene Neff’s question if the leaky waterline damaged the soil and made it soft with a strong, “Yes.”


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