Representatives from the contractor in charge of the Main Street overlay project said utility relocation, federal requirements and the “piecemealing” all are factors in project delays.
Magruder Paving, the contractor in charge of the Main Street overlay project, had been criticized by aldermen for being behind schedule.
Last week, officials said they received phone calls from residents who complained about the speed that work in front of their homes is completed.
There are several subcontractors that are behind with work on the street, but ultimately Magruder Paving, the contractor, is responsible, officials said.
Donny Mantle, project manager with Magruder, told aldermen Monday that because some sections of sidewalk, curbs and gutters are not being replaced, it adds time to the project.
“Anytime you are piecemealing, it is more difficult,” he said. “When you tear everything up it is much easier.”
Mantle noted that complying with the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for sidewalks and other concrete work has also delayed the project.
“It takes four times longer with ADA,” he said.
Work began on the street project in May and it was slated to take 240 days, or about eight months, Terry Todd with the project engineer Cochran said last week.
He also stated that the project will not be completed by the December deadline.
According to Mantle, utility companies did not correctly mark gas, phone or other lines, which has required the contractor to wait until the lines are relocated.
There will be about 10 more days provided to the contractor to complete the project because there were additions to the project. Those additions include $20,000 of more curb and gutter replacement than originally planned.
However, Mantle said the additional work would require much more than 10 days to complete.
When asked by Alderman Dustin Bailey for an updated time line for construction, Mantle, nor project foreman Ted Bartlett could give an exact date.
“You had a time line that you are not going to meet and now you can’t give me an updated time line?” Bailey asked.
He added that the contractor should have accounted for the issues that have caused delays when they bid on the project.
Mantle said Main Street west of the roundabout, and east to Christina Avenue should be paved in two weeks.
Representatives from Magruder said they will present a new time line for completion of the project next week.
He added that residents have been contacting aldermen because they are upset that the street work is not complete.
“I have people tell me they can’t get to their driveway,” said Bailey. “I have had a lot of people tell me the job is a mess.”
Bartlett noted that residents along Main Street have been understanding in the length of time it has taken to conduct the work.
“The people I talk with say we are doing a good job,” he said. “I wish they would come to me.”
In response to statements that crews have not been working every day over the summer, Mantle said his crews have only missed one day of work during the project.
Aldermen also expressed concern about work in the downtown area during the holiday season.
“My worry is the downtown area the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Alderman Bob Schmuke. “There are a lot of restaurants and I want people to be able to park in front.”
Mantle noted that the downtown area work will be conducted “one block at a time.”
Bartlett said the downtown work will be time-consuming, but there will be access to businesses along Main Street.
“Uptown work will be a slow go,” he said.
From Dec. 15 through March 15, the city cannot assess damages for incomplete work.
Bailey questioned if the city would allow crews to work during that time frame.
“Why not let them work if it’s a nice day?” asked Schmuke. “We just want the job done, guys.”
The scope of the Main Street project includes a 2-inch asphalt overlay, concrete base repairs, new sidewalks and signs.
It is the city’s largest street project since Church Street, and is similar to that project and the Washington Avenue project which have been completed in the past few years.
Included in the project is a roundabout at the intersection of Main Street and Independence Drive that has already been completed.