Contaminated soil could inflate long-anticipated bike route budget by $1.4 million

The 9.5-mile bike boulevard that will connect North Long Beach to Downtown has been in the works for over a decade, but some unanticipated complications mean the project has recently gone over its $3.9 million budget and will require a significant infusion of new funding to complete.

The Daisy-Myrtle Bike Boulevard project has been talked about for years and has been making progress toward opening, but contaminated soil along the route means it’s going to take an extra $1.4 million to finish, according to city officials. The City Council is slated to approve the new funding at its Sept. 18 meeting.

Finally: 9.5-Mile Daisy-Myrtle Bike Boulevard Connecting North Long Beach, DTLB Coming Soon

The project includes installing four roundabouts at the intersections of Myrtle Avenue and 70th Street, Myrtle Avenue and Harding Street, Linden Avenue and Harding Street, and at Bixby Road and Linden Avenue. In addition to the roundabouts, the project also includes seven traffic circles, two traffic ovals, bike detectors and other improvements aimed at calming traffic and making it safer for cyclists.

The original cost was set at just over $3.9 million, but an increase of $934,000 and a contingency of nearly $490,000 will bring the contract total to about $5.35 million.

A rendering of the path the Daisy-Myrtle Bike Boulevard will take from North Long Beach to downtown.

In a memo, Long Beach Public Works Direct Craig Beck explained the additional costs to the mayor and City Council by saying contaminated materials and other field conditions have resulted in the unanticipated removal of full sections of roadway near the four roundabouts. In an email, Beck said that crews found contaminated soil at a majority of the sites where excavation occurred. Beck was unsure of what particular contaminant was found at the intersections in question.

“This resulted in higher handling, transportation and disposal fees,” Beck wrote. “Another challenge related to meeting ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] required slopes. Additional grading, concrete and asphalt work is needed to address drainage and appropriate ADA access. Some small additions include signage to identify the corridor, bicycle prioritization at intersections, etc.”

Beck said that he’s been told that clean backfill dirt has been delivered and graded and that the roundabouts are “essentially in” adding that the impact to the project’s completion date should be minimal assuming the City Council approves the funding. If they don’t, Beck said the project may have to be cut in certain places to meet the original budget.

The Daisy-Myrtle Bike Boulevard was originally slated to be completed in October 2018.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.