Completing the much-needed foundation repair in the foundation of Milwaukee City Hall will carry a hefty price for the city, the city’s Public Works Committee discovered recently.
According to a Nov. 13 Milwaukee Business Journal article, the estimated cost of repairing foundation problems in the city hall’s north side — a project expected to take place in 2016 or 2017 — alone ranges between $30 million and $40 million.
When the typical cost of repairing foundation leaks costs between $3,000 and $5,000, it’s clear that the city of Milwaukee is paying the price of neglecting its city hall’s wood foundation pilings throughout its 119-year history.
The Milwaukee Business Journal reports that the foundation’s deterioration has caused the building to settle by two inches on its north end, while the building’s southern end has settled less than an inch.
If the foundation is left unrepaired, Ghassan Korban, Milwaukee Department of Public Works commissioner, says the building will likely continue to settle unevenly, eventually resulting in the building leaning and splitting.
Part of the reason why the cost of repairing foundation problems in Milwaukee City Hall will amount to so much is due to the foundation itself, which is made from approximately 2,500 wood piles submerged in water for preservation. A traditional concrete foundation wouldn’t be a viable option in downtown Milwaukee’s moist, mushy soil, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports.
As water levels below City Hall fluctuated over the years, the wood pilings became exposed to air, letting fungal rot and decay take hold. Homeowners can avoid the possibility of mold, which can start growing in 24 to 48 hours, in their homes by investing in a foundation sealing or basement waterproofing.
Milwaukee officials expect the price tag of the City Hall foundation repair to be whittled down as consultants refine the original plan for repair, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.