The cost of the Louisiana State Capitol security upgrade project has gone up more than $165,000 since it began with more work is left to do.

Four change orders for work unforeseen when the $4.37 million project began are increasing costs which now exceed $4.5 million.

The Capitol was built between 1930 and 1932 by Huey Long at a cost of about $5 million.

Jindal administration construction officials insist the project will be completed March 27 — about two weeks before the legislative session’s April 13 start. That’s five days later than the March 22 original projected completion.

“We are closely monitoring the project to ensure work is complete before session begins,” state construction chief Mark Moses said. “We’re currently on target.”

The project converts part of the parking lot in front of the Capitol building into a pedestrian plaza. When the Legislature is in session, decorative bollards bordering the plaza will be removed and the plaza area used for parking. Bollards are vertical barriers that stop the passage of vehicles. Bollards also are being installed along the perimeter of the Capitol to stop motor vehicles from getting close to the Capitol from the parking lot and street.

Four security posts are being installed on the northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest corners to police parking restrictions. The stations will be manned as deemed necessary by the Legislature. Electronic controlled access to restricted lots would also be available entrances to parking areas.

Traffic flow changes are planned that will route vehicles further away from the 34-story seat of government.

Work has been going on since July on the side of the Capitol closest to the Mississippi River and on the plaza.

The change orders ranged in size from $32,499 to $45,948.

Construction crews ran into unforeseen underground concrete in the plaza area as well as under light-pole bases that had to be removed; fiber optic lines, telephone and cable had to be added from the Capitol to the Central Security Station; card readers were added at security stations; warning lights installed at the retractable bollard locations and existing uneven curb and gutter along the Capitol south parking areas had to be replaced.

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