Lake Macquarie City Council says money has run out halfway through Watkins Road project, at Wangi Wangi, because of 'design issues'

LAKE Macquarie City Council will cease road works at Wangi Wangi in August despite completing just half of the job.

Problems caused by the location of a water main have caused a cost blow-out and forced a postponement, the council said.

"Council is committed to the scheduled works at Watkins Road, however due to some unforeseen design issues related to utility locations, re-design of the drainage components had to be undertaken," a spokesperson for the council said.

"This impacted on the budget for this stage of the work, resulting in reduced scope. Council will continue with the works along Watkins Road in the next financial year, once further investigations into scope and design have been finalised."

In January, council announced it had started work on the $2.2-million upgrade of Watkins Road, saying the project was due to be completed late this year.

Making news:

Bob Carey, a veteran of 48 years in the construction industry - including on some large government projects - is a resident of Watkins Road.

He said the Watkins Road project warranted a "minimum of $5 million" budget allocation.

Council said budget allocations for such works were identified in its Operational Plan each year.

"Due to the complexities of this project, funds were allocated across a number of programs. Costings are estimated at a number of times during the project life cycle, including at feasibility, design and construction stages."

Mr Carey wondered how council could be surprised by the location of a water main, and why a "contingency" amount wasn't factored into the costings.

He said residents were concerned about the uncertainty of the new time frame for the works, and the potential for flooding and erosion problems on the properties along the incomplete section of Watkins Road.

Council said it would remain working on the road until August.

"Council crews are still on-site working in the area, we will ensure works being undertaken will include appropriate measures to mitigate stormwater flows," the spokesperson said.

Historically, Watkins Road had endured significant flooding issues that impacted both private and public assets, the council said.

"The drainage works proposed for this area will address these flooding issues and provide upgraded community assets. Major drainage works in Wysteria Lane have been completed and approximately 100 metres of kerb and footpath are complete.

"In August, 2019, the next stage of drainage works will be complete, which will alleviate flooding issues at a number of private properties and the roadway."

Mr Carey said he expected better from a council with such experience in road upgrade projects.

"This is like building a house and leaving the roof off it," he said.

Earlier today

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