A new cost estimate of $3 billion on the massive Ohio River Olmsted Dam project has one budget-minded Republican fuming as federal authorities consider switching to old construction methods to save money. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the project — which was supposed to cost about $800 million less and is already 10 years behind schedule — could be delayed until at least 2020.
The project falls within the Kentucky district represented by U.S. Rep Ed Whitfield, a Republican, who is not happy about cost overruns and the lack of progress on completing construction.
“I am very disappointed at how poorly this project has unfolded,” Whitfield said, calling it “a complete failure” by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The congressman described Olmsted as “a perfect example of how a government bureaucracy has irresponsibly managed taxpayer resources, through design problems, cost overruns and missed deadlines.”
Despite the setbacks and criticism, the corps still considers Olmstead — the largest single locks and dam project in the history of the U.S. Inland Marine Transportation System — to be “essential to the regional and national economy,” the Courier-Journal reported.
“I share the congressman’s concerns, but Olmsted is a good and necessary project which is over budget, and it is far from a complete failure,” Col. Luke Leonard, who oversees the corps’ Louisville district, told the newspaper. “We have documented our cost increase openly and corps headquarters has ordered direct improvements . . . that may result in a quicker and less expensive completed project at Olmsted.”
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