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Plans are already being made to ensure the flood protection works in front of the University of Otago's registry building do not go over deadline, Otago Regional Council director Gavin Palmer says.
Councillors yesterday challenged the engineering and hazards director on how the council would ensure the multimillion-dollar project did not encounter the same delays as the Leith footbridge to Forth St flood protection work.
Its new completion date was September 9, about six months after its original deadline.
The delays were due to problems with earth stability around the new abutment wing walls for the Clyde St bridge and weather.
Cr Bryan Scott said as with the earlier project, the registry work was to coincide with the university summer holidays in order to minimise disruption to the university, but that had obviously not worked in the Forth St case.
''What are we going to do to bring it in on time? If we find ourselves in the same situation we'll be in the gun.''
Dr Palmer said the council would ensure the project came in on time by starting early with detailed design work and locating major services and separating out some aspects of the job from the main contract.
''There will be a risk in not delivering on time but the risks on this one are less.''
When appointing a contractor to the job, the council would be ensuring it was aware of the consequences of any delays.
''We've got to get in quickly and out quickly.''
Work also had to be scheduled around university activities, such as exams, he said.
Cr Michael Deaker said the problem with the earth around the Clyde St bridge was not known until the work begun.
Dr Palmer said the council had already dug test pits around the bridge, to find where there were no services and that had assisted in assessing the earth quality.
The work on the St David St bridge was to extend it, so it was a lot more straightforward to do than the Clyde St work.
The council aimed to invite tenders on August 3, award a contract on September 18 and start construction soon after.