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Utilities board unhappy with condition of Franklin

SALEM — City Utilities Commission members aren’t happy about the quality of the paving or supposed cleanup of Franklin Street by the contractor who spent the summer replacing water and sewer lines there.

“That really is a mess out there,” Commission Chairman Bob Hodgson said.

He asked city Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart to contact the contractor, Woodford Excavating, about returning to fix the trouble spots and clean up, noting there’s a lot of loose gravel that could create an issue for motorists. Alfred Benesch & Company handled the engineering and oversight of the project.

“I don’t think the paving was a very good job at all. The cleanup was not good,” Commission member Randy Malmsberry said, noting that they didn’t even smooth out the asphalt.

He could understand some settling is expected but not like that.

The city originally planned to have the road ground down and paved from curb to curb after the water and sewer line project was finished, using Columbiana County Community Development Block Grand funds to cover part of the cost. Unfortunately, the bids when opened by county commissioners were too high and had to be thrown out, meaning the project would have to be rebid. Due to the lateness in the year, it was agreed the city would wait until spring to advertise for bids again to pave the street.

That meant the contractor for the water and sewer line project had to return to restore the areas on Franklin between South Lincoln and South Broadway that had to be dug out, covering those spots with asphalt and sweeping up to clear the street of debris and dust. The commission ended up approving a change order at the last meeting for more asphalt, but Weingart said there ended up being a savings on asphalt. The final payment to the contractor hasn’t been made yet.

All three commission members, including Tim Weingart, said they felt sorry for the residents who have to drive that street.

In other business, wastewater treatment plant manager Jeff Zimmerman gave an update on the Phase 2 improvements project at the plant and also about his trip to Kenosha, Wisc. to see a thermo-chemical hydrolysis process in operation. The process is being considered for the Phase 3 work at the plant as a means to heat the sludge and dry it and use the power generated to run the system and run parts of the plant.

For Phase 2, Zimmerman said the contractor diverted the power line and water line out of the way of the new administration building construction, recently pouring the footers for the building. He said when it’s raining, the contractor’s crew does inside work. He said they’re staying real busy.

In Wisconsin, he said the best takeaway was getting to talk with the people who work at the plant and learning the thermo-chemical hydrolysis process was functioning like they hoped it would. He said they save a lot on power costs.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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