A series of delays and contract management failures on one of the ACT government's biggest road projects has cost territory taxpayers $847,000 in cost-overruns.
The delays and governance failures on the $31 million Gundaroo Drive stage one project were detailed in an independent audit released late on Friday.
While the territory government has previously claimed the project would not exceed its budget, the audit shows utility-related delays led to $847,000 in delay payments to contractors.
Gungahlin drivers bore the brunt of 18 months of delays on the project, causing major congestion problems in the past two years on the key arterial road.
Among the audit's key findings were a lack of planning, poor contract management and communication and blurred lines of responsibility between the government and contractor.
Planning was not adequate to facilitate timely delivery, and lack of effective engagement with utility providers created significant project delays.
It also found potential double-handling of responsibilities and governance arrangements that did not fully comply with the key responsibility delegations framework.
"Planning was not adequate to facilitate timely delivery of the project milestones, and lack of effective engagement with utility providers created significant project delays," it reads.
A Transport Canberra and City Services project manager had also made operational decisions on-site without proper delegation, based on their interpretation of "an open-ended verbal directive" from two senior executives.
"These actions significantly blur the lines of responsibility under the contract and on the project," the audit reads.
The audit also showed the contracts did not include a liquidated damages clause to encourage the contractor to actually meet deadlines.
The government was forced to pay the contractor three separate delay payments, related to utilities management issues, which caused about 11 months, or 75 per cent, of the delays.
Other causes of the delay were related to the decision to signalise intersection at Mirrabei Drive and wet weather, respectively about 14 and 11 per cent.
The audit shows the government paid the contractor $320,792 in relation to Jemena gas works, $265,000 to TransACT and $261,284 to EvoEnergy.
The problems have prompted a major review of contract management processes to help ensure similar issues do not occur on stage two of the project.
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