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Geology raises Newport Transit Station costs

Construction on the Newport Transit Station has been challenging due to higher than anticipated bedrock. (Submitted illustration)

The Newport Transit Station project has experienced some costly hurdles, but innovative ideas are still trickling in with an electric car charging station as the latest possible feature.

Washington County is faced with more than $329,000 in additional expenses resulting from higher than anticipated bedrock that required extensive excavation as crews dug through the site this summer.

The Newport Transit Station is a key stop on the Red Rock Corridor at Interstate 494 and Highway 61.

Demolition on the former Knox building began last December and transit station work is set to be finished by Halloween this year.

The County Board has yet to approve the change order and discussed it at a recent meeting, where engineers explained how they’ll need more money on top of the $2.5 million already approved for construction.

Bedrock excavation work alone cost around $260,000. The county has some money in the Washington County Regional Railroad Authority operating fund and fund balance that would cover the additional expense.

The changes went before the County Board for an official vote this week, but Commissioner Lisa Weik expressed concern over how the problem wasn’t discovered sooner during the estimate and bidding process and said she was surprised to see the request for additional funding.

“This is really a lot,” she told engineers last week.

But Washington County Engineer Wayne Sandberg said all due diligence pointed to much deeper bedrock and that consultants didn’t anticipate the site would be so uneven.

It was later uncovered and extensive work had to be done for proper drainage off the site.

“We’re not coming back looking for new money,” Sandberg said, noting that funds would come from reserves.

The county is also looking into adding a $10,000 dual electric car charging station, an idea brought forth by the Newport City Council.

The station would be operated by a vendor and paid for with parking space rental.

Engineers working on the project say electric vehicle ownership is on the rise and that charging stations are complementary uses at transit stations.

So far, demolition, site grading, utility and environmental work has been completed. Construction crews are still in the process of installing fiber optics and constructing the building.

The entire project will end up costing around $6.4 million including new expenses, land acquisition and consultant work.

The Newport Transit Station is expected to be operating with express bus service by November.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.