A Neil Avenue construction project that has faced two construction delays and a roughly 22 percent budget increase is set to largely be completed after this weekend.
The construction was supposed to be completed by the end of 2013, which was delayed from its initial estimated completion date of September, but weather conditions in December and early January caused construction delays. The addition of a waterline under Neil Avenue is the only remaining “significant work“ on the project, which is set to be finished over the weekend, said Ohio State spokeswoman for Administration and Planning Lindsay Komlanc in an email.
The project was initially delayed because additional maintenance issues were encountered after construction began on the Neil Avenue stretch of the tunnel replacement project because of the project being underground. The additional work discovered included undiscovered maintenance issues with tunnels such as problems with the tunnel floor that required a redesign of the condensate line alignment, natural gas line alignment changes and a need to relocate the water main to McCracken Power Plant.
The project budget has remained at $4.5 million despite the additional delay, Komlanc said. The budget increased to $4.5 million from $3.7 million after the additional maintenance issues were discovered.
The final round of work was scheduled for this weekend because OSU is not set to have classes on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which Komlanc said will “lessen the impact to the university community.”
The unfinished construction site is part of a larger project that began in summer 2012 that includes work such as repairing the deteriorated tops of tunnels, removing abandoned utilities and enhancing the structural integrity of the tunnels, which house the heating system steam and hot water pipes between the McCracken Power Plant and various campus buildings.
This is the last stop on that particular plan, but Komlanc said OSU might begin repairs as a separate project on other tunnels around campus in the spring.
Final touches might not be completed until spring, Komlanc said, as the project still requires planting grass. She said, however, once workers start planting grass, chain-link fences will disappear to make room for orange fences or posts with rope, which she added should reduce the impact of the project on pedestrians.
Some students said getting to classes can be inconvenient around the construction.
“A lot of times (the fences) are (inconvenient). Nowadays they’re not as bad, but when they were close to Dreese (Laboratory), I had to go through Baker (Systems Engineering) to get to math,” said Michelle Endsley, a second-year in electrical engineering.
“It’s kind of hard trying to get to other classes when you have to cross the street to get to where you want to go,” said Chelseay Thomas, a third-year in zoology.