Milltown bridge delayed — again
Faulty marking of utility locations
June 09, 2010
The Milltown bridge project has been delayed once again, this time because of utilities not being where they were marked.
Greg Miller of Heritage Engineering told the Crawford County Board of Commissioners at its May 24 meeting that the approach work on the new, two-lane span crossing the Blue River would be completed earlier this week, allowing for traffic to cross it by this coming Monday.
However, when the contractor, R.L. Vuckson Excavating Inc., went to connect the new water and sewer lines on the bridge to the existing lines on the Harrison County side of the river, it was discovered that the locations of the existing lines were incorrectly marked, Larry Bye, president of the board of commissioners, said Monday.
Bye said the lines are having to be rerouted and additional materials had to be ordered. He expects the project to be delayed by about two weeks and hopes the bridge will be open to traffic by the end of the month.
Unlike other delays, Bye said he doesn't fault the contractor for this delay, as it isn't the contractor's responsibility to mark the utility lines.
Construction on the new bridge, which will replace the single-lane span, out of commission since it failed an inspection in October, began approximately a year ago and was to be completed by Dec. 20. That deadline, however, came and went, after a high river level due to an unusually rainy season, along with the need to relocate a utility pole and the unexpected discovery of extra rock on the Harrison County side of the river, delayed the project.
Subsequent estimated completion dates also came and went because of flooding, snow and a delay in getting utility relocation agreements. Because of this, Miller, joined by Heritage Engineering's Bob Woosley, last month recommended that the $1,000 daily penalty the contractor faces for each work day beyond Dec. 20 the project is not completed be waived through May 4, which, at that time, represented all but 28 days of the delay.
The commissioners, however, disagreed and voted, 3-0, to not approve the extension and to negotiate with the contractor.
"I realize some of these delays is not the contractor's fault, but, I'll be honest with you, I don't think he's ever taken this contract date and completion date very seriously," Bye, whose District 1 includes Milltown, told Miller and Woosley. "In my opinion, he's not brought in the manpower that he's needed to complete this project on time."
District 2 Commissioner James Schultz said he, too, has concerns about what has appeared to be a low number of workers on the project.
"I've had a lot of people comment to me that at times when it looked like they could have been getting a lot of work done, there might be only one or two guys on the site," he said.
Miller said part of that is due to construction sequencing, but Woosley agreed that that has been the perception by those in the community.