- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Omaha will have to pay $2.75 million extra to complete one of its sewer overhaul projects because a tunnel boring machine got stuck.

The machine was 70 feet underground between the downtown Heartland of America Park and the Missouri River when it ran into boulders and watery gravel, according to The Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/2juAQHu). It had to stop 900 feet short of its destination.

“It was going along just fine until we hit this seam of something we didn’t know was there,” said Omaha Public Works Director Bob Stubbe.

The City Council has agreed to pay the contractor for digging a shaft down to the machine and taking it out and then pay for the lowering of a heavier duty drilling rig into the tunnel to finish the work.

When combined with about $4 million in earlier change orders, the additional work will raise the project’s cost from the original $21 million to more than $28 million, plus additional costs for the larger machine.

The project now is expected to be delayed at least until the end of his year - about one year later than the original completion date. The work is part of a 15-year, $2 billion sewer overhaul that will let Omaha reduce the amount of raw sewage released into the Missouri River.

“It’s a frustration on our part, and it’s a frustration on the contractor’s part,” Stubbe said.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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