ROCKAWAY BEACH — The city has gotten the green light for an additional $67 million to rebuild the Hurricane Sandy-damaged boardwalk, including nearly $25 million just to finish the project on time, according to the Economic Development Corporation.
The mushrooming costs are on top of the $274 million originally budgeted for the project, and part of the $480 million awarded to the city for the rebuild by FEMA, officials said.
Representatives from the EDC presented the new budget to Borough President Melinda Katz on Wednesday.
Skanska, the company working on the project, requested $24.8 million for "additional labor and equipment cost" to stay on target and finish Phase 5 of the project, which is scheduled to be completed by summer 2017, according to the presentation.
The EDC did not provide specifics about the increased labor and equipment costs. Skanska referred all questions to the EDC.
They also need $18 million for more dunes and beach grass for storm protection, which was not included in the original scope of the project, but was requested by the community, the presentation stated.
Contractors also requested $12.9 million more for the concrete planks that are replacing wood on the boardwalk — which are "approximately $13.5 million more than estimated," the presentation said.
The costs for the planks increased because of the length of time it has taken to procure and install them.
On top of that, $8.3 million is needed to replace stairs with ramps and add more access points to the beach, which is also the result of community feedback, according to the presentation.
The original $274 million budget was first presented as an estimate, according to an EDC official.
Requests from the community, including improved access points and greater storm fortification, have resulted in a heftier price tag for the project, the official said.
But Katz "raised significant concerns about the overruns incurred so early in the project," according to her spokeswoman, Sharon Lee.
She asked both the EDC and the Parks Department questions on how the additional money will accelerate the timeline, which many locals have already decried.
In February, the city was officially awarded $480 million for the project, including $199 million to elevate it above flood level and build a sand barrier to make it stronger for the next storm, according to FEMA.
The first portion of the new boardwalk from Beach 84th to Beach 97th streets is scheduled to open by Memorial Day, the city said.
And a design feature to write out "ROCKAWAY" on the boardwalk will be missing the "R" for months, since that portion of the word is in a different construction phase.