Union city officials do not plan to seek liquidated damages against the Main Street contractor for the missed deadline to complete work.
The Union Personnel, Finance and Public Works committee Monday is recommending aldermen approve four change orders for the street project, including one that grants 115 days of additional time to complete the work.
“By approving this, you pretty much are approving the amount of time it has taken,” said City Administrator Russell Rost.
City Attorney Tim Melenbrink said the project was completed to the correct specifications, and questioned if seeking monetary damages is necessary.
“From my perspective, when you get a project finished and it looks the way you want it to look, do you go that route?” he asked.
The contractor for the project is Magruder Paving.
Melenbrink further added that if the committee did not agree to approve the extension, that would lead to litigation.
Work began on the street project in May 2012 and it was slated to take 240 days, or about eight months, officials said.
The deadline for completion was Dec. 15, but there will be about 10 more days provided to the contractor to complete the project because there were additions to the project.
From Dec. 15 through March 15, the city cannot assess damages for incomplete work due to low temperatures. Most concrete plants won’t be open during those months.
In effect, that pushed the deadline to March 15, however, aldermen questioned if work should be permitted during the winter months.
Ultimately aldermen agreed to allow work during winter months, but asked crews to stay out of the downtown area during the holiday season.
Alderman David Pope suggested that aldermen put the project behind them.
“It is better to put it to rest,” he said. “It is regretful that it wasn’t jumped on at the beginning like it should have been.”
Rost added that approving the change order and extension does not mean officials agree that the job was performed to their satisfaction.
Mayor Mike Livengood said it may be difficult to prove in court that the city lost money due to the longer construction time frame.
“The bottom line is what damage was really done,” he asked.
Scope of Work
The Main Street project included a 2-inch asphalt overlay, concrete base repairs, new sidewalks and signs.
There also was an enhancement component of the project, with a gateway, or “portal” that includes one monument on each side of the street. That portal separates the residentially zoned district from the B-1 downtown businesses district.
A wall on the south side of the road between McKinley Avenue and Linden Street was constructed to “screen out” a county parking lot. The wall is located across Main Street from the El Ranchito Mexican restaurant.
There also were new sidewalks, with a foot-wide colored stamped stripe, on both sides of Main Street from McKinley Avenue to Washington Avenue.
There was seating and planters along Main Street on the north side of the Historic Franklin County Courthouse, and around a flagpole on the county property, as well as on the veterans memorial on the northwest corner of the courthouse square.
The additions on the county property match other new benches and planters installed between McKinley and Washington avenues to provide more consistency in the downtown area.
Included in the project is a roundabout at the intersection of Main Street and Independence Drive that has already been completed.
City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann said there was a total of $23,000 increased costs from the beginning of the constriction project until the end of the project.
Part of that was the aldermen approved the addition of $20,000 to be used for more curb and gutter replacement along the roadway.
“The project, financially, did very, very well,” Zimmermann said. “For a project this size, that amount in change orders is remarkable.”