Faced with a Boone Street drainage project was estimated to go significantly over budget, it was the consensus of Olney City Council at its meeting Tuesday to go with a cheaper, though hopefully just as effective, option.

The council discussed estimated costs for the project, the aim of which is to increase the capacity to handle storm water in the area.

Plans are for the project to go from Boone to Walnut Street.

The construction cost was estimated to be $902,205. The city has $387,695 budgeted for the project, $294,945 of which is coming from a grant through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, according to information from City Manager Larry Taylor.

According to the information from Taylor, a major factor to the increase cost of the project is a box culvert behind Sunshine Village.

According to Taylor, the city met with a representative with the Richland County Housing Authority, who stressed that they did not want an open channel running behind Sunshine Village due to safety, maintenance and appearance issues.

The city also has approximately $81,000 of additional costs to relocate and/or relay water and sewer mains along Boone Street and Fair street to address conflicts.

City Engineer Roger Charleston looked at ways of reducing the costs and presenting four different estimates, the most expensive being $902,205 and the cheapest being $392,612, along with a comparison of high-water elevation based on each of the four scenarios, according to Taylor.

At Tuesday's meeting, Taylor said the basic differences between the estimates relate to what is done behind Sunshine Village and installing an aluminum box culvert or laying a second pipe similar to what is there alongside this existing culvert. Also, there are differences in whether or not the city constructs four concrete channels between Boone and Fair streets and west of Sunshine Village, he said.

The council eventually decided to go with the least expensive option, which would be replacing culverts under Boone Street and Fair Street, and installing an additional culvert behind Sunshine Village beside the existing culvert. The estimate of $392,612 for this option does not include construction of any concrete channels; only reshaping as needed.

Charleston, addressing a point made by Mayor Mark Lambird, said there could be flooding in this option at the Fair Street culvert. But, Lambird noted, there are no houses in this area.

Charleston said he did not see this as a problem, however, noting that the estimates regarding this were made using the rainfall in 10- or 100-year storms. The area will likely be flooded no matter what the city does if there were rainfall of that magnitude, he said.

Lambird said after the meeting that a 100-year flood means there is about a 1-percent chance the city would receive this much rain.

He said the roadway at the Fair Street culvert would be covered with water in a storm of this magnitude.

Charleston said the project would more than double the capacity of the Boone Street culvert, also increasing capacity downstream.

City Councilman Bob Ferguson noted that even this cheaper option is approximately $5,000 over what the city has budgeted for the project.

Lambird noted that the work would be done in the next budget year.

Audience member John Rohr asked if a flow area on the west side of Fair Street would be straightened.

Charleston said the project would straighten the area where a bridge currently is so there would be straight flow to the Walnut Street culvert.

Audience member Brian James O'Neill asked Charleston if he was saying that the city finally came to the same conclusion as him and others in the area about what needed to be done. Charleston said he had and he thanked O'Neill and the others for their input.