The Brace Point area south of Fauntleroy has underground electricity, and underground problems – with another outage just this past Monday. Finally, a major repair project that had been years in the making was supposed to start last year – Seattle City Light and its contractor even had a public pre-construction meeting in August. But then – major work never started. After questions from frustrated residents, we checked with SCL, repeatedly, and the answer was generally something about permit problems. Today, two residents reported that the contractor, Olson Brothers Excavating, had packed up their remaining equipment, with one worker telling a resident that they were pulling out and the city would have to put the project out to bid again. We asked SCL’s Jenn Strang about it – and she says yes, they’ll be looking for a new contractor, which means the work won’t resume any sooner than next year:
Over the past six months, we have been working through challenges with the Brace Point conduit repair project. In fall 2021, City Light encountered an unforeseen delay in issuing the notice to proceed (NTP) when it took longer to receive a required Department of Ecology permit than anticipated. During this time, a further complication arose with the contractor not being able to meet the Durkan administration’s policy for vaccine attestation for contractors working on City projects. As we negotiated with the contractor to ensure all requirements were met before issuing the NTP, our SDOT Utility Major Permit expired. With work delayed and the contractor’s non-compliance, we recently canceled the original contract.
We have been focused on reacquiring the SDOT permit. This process will likely take several months as we implement required design changes to comply with updated standards and coordinate review processes with relevant City departments. Once we have a permit in hand, City Light will proceed to advertise for bids, review submittals, and issue intent to award to the selected contractor.
City Light is working to expedite these steps to begin work as quickly as possible. The best-case timeline would allow issuance of an NTP as soon as early 2023 to late spring 2023. However, it is important to note that continued issues with supply chain and staffing shortages could create uncertainty with this timeline.
Even before all this, the Brace Point project was originally expected to start in 2020. At last year’s meeting with the now-former contractor, it was estimated that the work will last “two or three years” – once it begins.