Denver is set to overshoot a crucial deadline for a stormwater drainage project on the South Platte River by six months, but state officials have waived hefty fines against the contractor that are called for by a city-state agreement.
The Globeville Landing Outfall project — which is building a new open channel in a park to drain water from large storm sewers into the river — is part of the city’s $298 million Platte to Park Hill program. It’s one of several projects that Interstate 70 project engineers plan to piggyback on as part of the drainage system for the expanded highway.
The $1.2 billion highway project, which is set to break ground this summer, includes the replacement of an aging viaduct between Brighton and Colorado boulevards with a roadway sunken in a trench.
Under a controversial cost-sharing agreement struck by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the city in 2015, the Globeville outfall and nearby pipes must be operational by Dec. 1, and other key projects by September 2019. If they miss those deadlines, the contractors must pay CDOT $5,000 a day until the work is done.
But I-70 project spokeswoman Rebecca White said that by “mutual agreement” with the city, CDOT has waived those fees and agreed to a new target date for the outfall and channel to handle stormwater runoff: June 1.
“Denver is on track to meet that date,” said Nancy Kuhn, a spokeswoman for the Denver Department of Public Works.
But she said other remaining drainage work on the site won’t be done until late 2018, and work to restore the park — with grass, an irrigation system and playgrounds — has been pushed into 2019.
Kuhn said the outfall project has taken longer because, once digging began, workers “encountered more groundwater at the site than expected.”
The drainage project’s delay isn’t expected to affect the start of I-70 construction, White said.
Kiewit Infrastructure is overseeing construction of the outfall. It’s also a lead partner on the I-70 project, as part of Kiewit Meridiam Partners, which won the public-private partnership contract last year.