Eau Claire (WQOW) - The wheels on the bus are not going around as fast as expected. News 18 has learned construction on a new bus transfer center is running behind schedule.
In March of 2018, the city was awarded a $5 million grant for the seven-story facility, which will include parking, housing, and commercial space.
In December of the same year, it was announced construction would hopefully begin spring of 2020.
Late last year, three open houses were held to get public input on the design. Now, officials are saying construction is likely to start in late fall, which means the center won't be ready for use until the end of next year at the earliest.
Eau Claire Transit Manager Tom Wagener said they've had to push back construction plans due to different requirements that need to be met in order to move forward.
Currently, the city is waiting to get a development agreement in place with all parties involved so they can advance with designs for the housing portion of the project.
Wagener added the city does have approval to start spending money on the project, but won't be reimbursed until an environmental study is completed.
He said even with the delays, things are actually moving along smoothly.
"There's just a lot of hoops we have to jump through, so we're going through that process," said Wagener. "We have regular meetings with the [Federal Transit Administration], there's environmental studies that have to be completed, and that's being worked on. Sounds like that should be wrapped up by the end of next month and then we can go forward."
Wagener said they estimate it will take 14 months to complete construction on the $23 million project. The city now hopes that begins late this fall.
Wagener believed it will be worth the wait, adding the center will make the city's transit system more appealing and easier to use.
The new bus transfer center would replace the current one along South Farwell Street which has been in place for more than 30 years.