The city approved a measure to compel a contractor to arbitrate disputed work on a street rebuilding project.

Spencer Contracting, Arnold, rebuilt the stretch of Thornton Road between Molly’s and North Monroe streets under a $746,758 contract, which was federally funded.

The city rejected the street rebuilding work, saying stormwater was flowing in the wrong direction, making conditions worse than they were before the project began.

Pacific agreed to make a partial payment for work that had been declared acceptable after the project engineer, Dave Christiansen, spoke on behalf of the contractor Oct. 17.

At that meeting, Christiansen told aldermen there was a solution to the disagreement and the contractor had agreed to the remedy. He proposed milling down the edges of the roadway and adding a new 1.5-inch surface over the entire roadway. The end result would be that the city would get a better road surface than originally called for.

After the milling, with Christiansen present, pavers would pour water over the surface to make sure water drains correctly.

Christiansen also said he had met with the contractor and MoDOT, which administers the federal grant that funds the work, and everyone agreed that the work was not acceptable. The contractor had agreed to Christiansen’s plan to repair the faulty pavement.

He also said MoDOT wanted the city to pay the contractor for the portion of the work that was acceptable. The city has already paid the contractor $467,000.

Mayor Jeff Palmore said he would approve the partial payment after receiving a change order, containing the repair details.

Christiansen said a no-cost change order would be prepared for the repair work and he thought the work could be completed in one day.

But speaking at the Nov. 7 board meeting, City Attorney Robert Jones said Spencer had not accepted the agreement and he suggested that the city approve legal action to require Spencer Contracting to enter arbitration on the contract.

“We thought they had agreed to the solution, but that appears to not be the case,” Jones said.

The next step is to take legal action to force the contractor to arbitration.

“In essence this is a lawsuit to force them to arbitrate,” Jones said. “This is a federally funded project through MoDOT and we can compel arbitration.”

The city can recover the cost of arbitration, but not the city attorney’s fees.