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Pettibone Road catchup would be costly
Pettibone Road catchup would be costly
By SUE REID
Solon City Council's public works committee discussed alternatives last week for recovering days lost to weather and third-party utility conflicts on the Pettibone Road improvement project.
Representatives from Quality Control Inspection Inc., the contract administrator and inspector on the project, sought the committee's approval to move ahead with negotiations with the contractor and to determine the cost implications of trying to bring the project on schedule. The committee unanimously approved a motion to proceed.
The original two-year project, which began last November, has been extended due to weather and utility conflicts and is about 60 days behind. Due to the delays, the project now is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2011, QCI President Rick E. Capone said.
"Critical items," such as paving and landscaping, would have to be moved to the fall of 2011, he said, due to Northeast Ohio's weather. According to the contract, the only remedy for utility or weather delays is time extension.
The third-party utility conflicts and weather delays are non-compensable to the City of Solon, city Engineer John J. Busch said, referring to the contract language.
"The challenge is the extent of when the project can finish and what it does to the overall output of the project as far as cost," Mr. Capone said.
"Do we fight to hold at the November 2010 as the end date and look to recovery and costs involved with the realization that the contractor may come back and file a claim for additional dollars due to change in contract?" Mr. Capone asked.
Courtney Norris, project engineer for QCI, said that there has been discussion of "simultaneous phasing," in which phases two and three of the project would be going on at the same time. Currently, the contractor is in the first half of the initial phase of the project, and phase two was to originally start in August.
"We would overlap phases so phase two would start on time," Mr. Norris said as an option. In addition to that, they would start working on phase three in the fall. This option also would involve opening the road unimpeded for traffic and shut down all work in the winter of 2010. Only utility work would be done in the winter.
Councilwoman Susan A. Drucker brought up a concern of the fact that, if the schedule is accelerated and there is one-way traffic in all three phases, all of Pettibone Road would be one-way during that time.
There is that potential, Mr. Busch said.
"If we are going to have all that one way on Pettibone Road, then fire station No. 3 has to always be occupied," Mrs. Drucker said. Traffic is already slow moving on the road as it is, she said.
"The main concern I see is if they are working at phase one and two at the same time," Mr. Busch said. "You'd have an extended one-way eastbound for a longer period of time than originally anticipated."
Mr. Busch also said that it would not be one-way in the same direction from one corporation line to another. The current lane of traffic is set up specifically for safety forces to be one way from SOM Center Road (Route 91).
Simultaneous phasing would only take place between Aug. 1 and Nov. 1, 2009, Mr. Norris said. There will be no construction from Nov. 1, 2009, to March 1, 2010, he said.
"The three-phase consecutive zones working would only occur for a four-month period," Public Works Director James S. Stanek said. "They may be able to still do a two-phase operation next year."
"Whoever decided we could do this in two years in Northeast Ohio?" Councilman and committee member John T. Scott asked.
City Engineer John J. Busch said CT Consultants, the design engineer, presented the schedule.
Mr. Stanek said the problem has to do with when the project started. "If this job would have been awarded in March than November," this would not have been an issue, he said. "It's a question of when it started." Mr. Stanek said the biggest delay in starting the job was waiting for the earmark.
Councilman Edward K. Suit asked what the city received from the earmark.
Mr. Stanek said $2.184 million. The remainder of the project's over $12 million cost is being paid for by the city.
"I want to know what this extension would cost because you might as well subtract it from the funds we received from the federal government," Mr. Suit said.
Mr. Capone said the city is fighting two fronts on this project. "You have phases and they serve as a constraint." The contractor is required by contract to complete one phase in its entirety before moving into the next phase. "You are also battling the weather and the time of the year the project was sold," Mr. Capone said.
"This project was not doomed to fail from day one," Mr. Norris said. "It was a fine line."
"Nobody is happy to be bringing this to the committee," Mr. Stanek said. "There is an opportunity to recover." The reality, however, is that "the cost to finish on time goes up every day we delay this."
Mrs. Drucker said she wants the city's finance director to review the numbers and, if the project is going to be more costly to the city, it needs to be determined where the money will come from.
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