How to avoid cost overruns and delays when building large infrastructure projects
In New York City, they called it the ‘L-pocolyse’, a 15-month project to shut down one of the city’s busiest subway lines to repair damage from super storm Sandy seven years over. early.
In Boston, they dubbed it The Big Dig, a hijacking of Interstate 93 that took 16 years and $ 22 billion to build, including $ 19 billion in cost overruns.
In New Jersey, it was to be Xanadu, a mega-mall with the country’s first indoor ski resort. The project has been moved and redesigned several times due to wetlands, lawsuits and other community reactions, including complaints that it billed itself as America’s ugliest building. Seventeen years later, a project estimated at $ 2 billion was opening in much reduced condition at twice the price.
In five decades, the United States has gone from building some of the world’s most ambitious public works projects to a reputation for crumbling bridges and cost overruns. In November, President Biden signed a $ 1 trillion bill committing to renovating the country’s infrastructure. But major public works projects in the United States are notorious for their delays and cost overruns. Colombia News spoke with three experts from Columbia Engineering about how to ensure projects are completed on time and on budget.
Professor Andrew Smyth leads the University’s Smart Cities initiative. Professor George Deodatis focuses on building resilience to climate change. Ibrahim Odeh is a senior lecturer and member of the World Economic Forum’s task force on overhauling the construction industry. In 2019, Deodatis and Smyth were part of the New York State Governor’s Task Force for the L train repair. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) adopted their proposal; Not only did the train keep running, the project was completed three months early and $ 100 million under budget.
Below, Smyth, Deodatis, and Odeh explain why construction projects go wrong and how government and industry can do better.