Highway 23 Bypass on Schedule 12 Dec 11

With construction nearing completion, a $32.5 million highway bypass near Paynesville is being built on schedule and with minimal cost overruns. That’s according to a St. Cloud Times investigation.

The four-lane, 7.7-mile bypass on Minnesota Highway 23 is expected to begin carrying traffic next summer.

The Times tracked the Paynesville bypass project as part of a Gannett national investigation of highway projects that receive federal funds.

So far, the Paynesville project has recorded one of the smallest percentage cost overruns, at less than 1 percent of its total cost, among more than 20 projects across the country that were examined in the investigation.

Change orders were reviewed, as were other documents detailing the project’s cost and scope.

Work began in April 2010 on the job, which includes grading, laying pavement, erecting lights and building eight bridges.

Figures submitted to the Times show slightly more than $288,000 in cost overruns on the project to date, with about 90 percent of work completed.

When cost underruns are factored into the project, Minnesota Department of Transportation project engineer Paul Rasmussen expects it will be finished on or very close to budget.