Port Authority Pushback: $5 Million Added Bonding a ‘Contingency’

New London's State Pier under construction this spring


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Despite a price tag of $255.5 million provided on a State Bond Commission agenda, Connecticut Port Authority Board Chair David Kooris said the project is still in line with earlier cost estimates of $250 million.

At a meeting of the Port Authority board on Tuesday, Kooris said that, while a guaranteed bottom-line cost won’t be finalized until the board meets in June, the New London State Pier redevelopment is still expected to cost $250 million – an estimate Kooris gave after Gov. Ned Lamont visited the pier to see construction progress in March.

If the Bond Commission approves an additional $20 million in funding for the project when it meetsThursday, the total public funding available for the project would reach $255.5 million, but Kooris told the board on Tuesday that the $5 million overage amounts to a contingency.

The Port Authority had declined to explain the additional need for $5 million in bonding when asked on Monday, telling CT Examiner it would be discussed at the meeting on Tuesday.

“[That] gives us some additional resources to serve as an owner’s contingency in case additional unforeseen conditions or costs arise, which is possible,” Kooris said.

The Port Authority and contractor Kiewit are racing to complete the redevelopment of the pier as an offshore wind hub, so that it will be ready next spring to serve as the staging ground for Eversource and Ørsted’s South Fork Wind Project. 

Kooris said the authority negotiated with Kiewit to come up with a construction timeline that would have the project “substantially completed” by Feb. 28 – in time for the South Fork project, but without much wiggle room.

Last year, the project was expected to cost $235 million, and the authority has pointed to delays in getting permits for the project as a major driver behind the $15 million increase since then. 

The cost of keeping contractors on site during the delays cost $6.3 million, and the cost to speed up the construction timeline to deliver the project before next March despite those delays amounts to $5.3 million, Kooris told the board. There was also a $1.5 million increase from having to buy additional steel for pilings on the northeast bulkhead of the pier.

“None of this has anything to do with rising costs for material or labor,” Kooris said. “All of our rates and material prices were baked in. This is the cost of keeping our contractor working for longer than anticipated because permits were delayed – partially and largely due to challenges – and the additional costs associated with additional work hours to make up some of that delay.”