Resident calls engineering and design costs 'ridiculous'

By Hank Lohmeyer


The Town of Cedaredge's spending on a stalled, four-year-long involvement with a street intersection improvement project was called "ridiculous" by a constituent at the town board's April 20 meeting.

Known as the "enhancement project," the proposed beautification work at the intersection of Main Street and Grand Mesa Drive (Highway 65) was begun with a signed agreement for design and engineering in 2013. It was to be the final section of Cedaredge's Main Street improvements.

However, to date there has been no completion date set for the work and no construction work was ever started. A variety of complicated, costly, interwoven reasons for the situation are being voiced by town officials and the project's engineer, including requirements for federal funding, Davis-Bacon Act wage requirements, and various missteps by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

Nevertheless, payments for design and engineering on the project now total $93,355 on a project with a 2016 estimated construction cost of $205,000.

"That," Cedaredge resident Steve Pierce told the town trustees on April 20, "on a $200,000 job, is ridiculous."

The town's approved payments are 45 percent of the entire project's estimated construction costs. "That is ridiculous," Pierce restated.

The owners of Cedaredge's consulting engineer firm (a firm which has no role in the "enhancement project") were also present at the meeting for an unrelated matter. Pierce asked them what their engineering and design fees typically run as a percentage of construction costs. They replied between 1 and 5 percent; far less than the 45 percent that has been spent so far on the "enhancement project's" design and engineering.

Town trustees noted that not all money approved so far on the federally funded project is coming out of Cedaredge taxpayers' pockets.

"That doesn't matter," Pierce explained. "It is still taxpayers of the United States getting ripped off."

Although the project continues to have town support, some trustees of the Cedaredge Town Board have voted to abandon the project.