The Town of Palm Beach has released the Town-wide Undergrounding of Utilities Project Master Plan. The draft master plan is available for public viewing online at www.Undergrounding.info.
The Master Plan is a culmination of many meetings with over 100 individuals, stakeholders, community leaders, multiple utility companies, and various governmental agencies. Typically, this level of planning for a project of this magnitude is a 12 to 18-month process, but our Town’s Undergrounding of Utilities Project Team expedited the schedule to complete the master plan in 7 months.
The Master Plan is broken out into 12 Chapters indicating the findings, recommendations, schedule and budget for each phase of the project.
Chapter 1: An executive summary of the master plan
Chapter 2: Why we are undergrounding, an introduction to the project and the project goals
Chapter 3: A review of Palm Beach’s current aerial utility system
Chapter 4: Collection of data from key government agencies, capital improvement programs and coordination with stakeholders
Chapter 5: Description of the design criteria and conceptual design descriptions
Chapter 6: Phasing and sequencing plan that outlines how the program will be implemented along with how undergrounding will be coordinated with other infrastructure replacement programs and Town projects
Chapter 7: Project delivery method recommendations
Chapter 8: Risk assessment for the program categorized by budget risks and schedule risks
Chapter 9: Transportation management plan and guidelines to mitigate traffic impacts
Chapter 10: Public outreach and community engagement
Chapter 11: Project schedule and implementation timelines
Chapter 12: Construction cost projections and overall undergrounding budget
After 7 months of planning, scheduling and coordination, the project budget is approximately $98.6 million
Project Cost: $80.7 million
Contingency Funds: $8.84 million
Inflation: $9.03 million
Overall Engineer’s Opinion of Probable Cost: $98.6 million over 10 years
- Landscape screening between the right of way and equipment WILL be included in the project. There will be no additional cost to property owners for this landscape screening.
- The Undergrounding program budget contains funds to perform general site cleanup in the rear easement once the overhead line removal is complete.
- The Town’s contractor will do a majority of the work to keep costs down and maintain better control over the program schedule.
- Conduit for FPL will be installed per their requirements, including service lines to homes.
- Conduit for AT&T and Comcast will be installed for their main trunk lines and for services under roadways. Lateral communication lines will be installed to the properties with direct-bury cable.
- Inflation is factored at 3% and is based on historical data.
- Once all the utilities are undergrounded, the systems become the property and responsibility of the respective utility owners. Any and all repairs will be paid for by the utility companies.
The team is continuing to evaluate cost savings and cost sharing opportunities, including partnering with new broadband service providers to reduce costs and developing cost sharing opportunities with telecommunication utilities. The team is also pursuing grant funding and other offsetting revenue opportunities to reduce the total program assessment to the Town’s property owners. These options are still being explored and progress will continue to be reported to the UUTF.
What happens next?
The Undergrounding Project Team will continue to meet with the utility companies to identify additional cost saving and cost sharing opportunities to reduce the program cost. A report of the progress and findings will be reviewed at the March 7th Underground Utilities Task Force meeting.