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Paving repairs due to high bids to delay Franklin Street opening

SALEM — Work to reopen and to restore Franklin Street between South Lincoln and South Broadway for normal travel may not begin for another two-and-a-half weeks, city Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart said Thursday.

The Utilities Commission approved three different change orders related to the project, including one for additional paving costs in excess of what was already estimated to bring the street back to the way it was before the water and sewer lines were replaced this summer.

Weingart estimated the street should be reopened by Nov. 1 after the contractor returns to pave over the sections of street that were disturbed for the water and sewer lines. Brent Hall, project manager for the engineering firm Alfred Benesch & Company, explained the gravel will be taken out of those spots and at least 4 inches of asphalt will be put down. The entire street won’t be paved, just the spots dug up for the water and sewer line project.

Originally, the plan was to have the water and sewer lines replaced first so any new paving wouldn’t have to be dug up, then the city was using a Community Development Block Grant from Columbiana County to repave the street from curb to curb. Unfortunately, when the bids for the paving project were opened by county officials, the bid amounts were more than 10 percent over the engineer’s estimated cost for the project.

City Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst said state law requires the project to be rebid and due to the timing, the rebidding will have to wait until next year. By the time a rebidding could take place this fall, the asphalt plants would be closed and prices would remain high since most contractors have their work lined up. Hopefully, he said, they’ll get better prices in the spring.

He noted that any hold up now isn’t because of the city. The contract for the water and sewer line work included a portion to get the street cleaned up and back to normal.

Both Kenst and Weingart said they’ve been getting phone calls regarding the street being messed up, with Weingart saying he received several calls regarding dust control. Once the water and sewer lines were finished, the contractor moved on to other projects, thinking the road was going to be repaved, which is why it will take a couple weeks before they can come back, plus the additional paving cost had to be approved, which was done Thursday.

Hall explained that some of the asphalt for the project had to be used in the area where an unknown cistern was found underground, plus the trenches ended up wider, requiring more asphalt than originally estimated and requiring the change order to cover the cost of more asphalt.

Change orders (additional costs) approved by the commission included $9,563 for dealing with the cistern, $32,400 for curbing and $31,199 for the paving, bringing the total project cost to $697,791. The original bid was $624,629. A problem had come up with the curbing and commission members questioned why they did not hear about the issue until just recently. Hall explained about curb loss that came up and said construction logs were submitted each week. He also said the contractors were proficient in their work. Everyone praised the job done by Woodford Excavating.

When the city repaves the street next year, engineer Jon Vollnogle of Howells & Baird said the surface will be ground down, but not the whole 4 inches. The street will be ground down and then brought back up to where it should be on the curbs.

Section of Newgarden to close

In other business, Vollnogle advised the commission that he received the necessary approvals from Ohio Edison and all easements were in place now for the Snyder Road sewer line project. He said the contractor, Rudzik Excavating, is scheduled to begin the first week in October starting at the Newgarden Avenue end.

He said for safety’s sake, Newgarden Avenue will have to be closed during some of the work for at least two to two-and-a-half weeks. The section to be closed will be from Railroad Street to the railroad tracks. General foreman Terry Endsley said he took a representative from the contracting company to each of the affected businesses, especially American Standard and Campf Trucking, and everybody’s on board. Detours will be announced by Kenst. Mullins Street will remain open.

The commission was also updated on the Phase 2 improvements for the wastewater treatment plant on Pennsylvania Avenue and the Phase 3 project which is still in the planning stages. Plant manager Jeff Zimmerman will travel with Burgess & Niple engineers to Kenosha, Wisc. to see a thermo-chemical hydrolysis process in operation. The process is being considered for the Phase 3 work.

For the water treatment plant improvements, Weingart said a lot needs to be taken into consideration. He’s working on how to approach the engineering firms to do some preliminary work to do a walk-through at the plant off of Gamble Road, come up with some ideas that work with the staff’s ideas and then come up with a monetary scope.

The next commission meeting will be 4 p.m. Oct. 17.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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