Cost estimate for Route 50 sewer project jumps $6 million

The estimated construction cost of the Route 50W sanitary sewer project has risen by nearly $6 million, prompting the Athens County Commissioners to seek additional federal funding for the project.

At their meeting Tuesday, the commissioners authorized submission of paperwork to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to seek funding to cover the increased cost estimate.

Commissioner Lenny Eliason said a grant will be sought, but it is more likely that the county would get a combination grant and loan increase. Loan repayment will be factored into customer’s sewer bills. The project will provide sanitary sewer service to the subdivisions along Route 50 west of Athens and to some nearby areas.

Eliason said the nearly $20.8 million construction cost estimate has risen of $26.6 million, and the $28.6 million overall cost estimate for the project has risen to $34.5 million.

Eliason was asked how the increased cost of the project would impact affordability.

“It’s testing the upper limit,” Eliason responded. “It’s right at the upper limit now. We can’t afford any more costs.”

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