Residents raise ruckus over recently redone road

Aldermen reported numerous calls from riled-up residents about road conditions on Spanish Oaks Drive, a street that was recently repaved as part of the 2019 Street Paving Improvements project.

Ward 2 Alderman Jim Martin said at the Board’s October 20 meeting and also at the Board’s November 2 work session that he has received numerous calls, emails and in-person visits from residents complaining about the condition of Spanish Oaks Drive, which has patched, bumpy areas and residents say does not look like it has been repaved. Ward 5 Alderwoman Jan Cossitt said she has received similar complaints from residents.

The scope of work for the project included Spanish Oaks Drive, Kent Drive, Woodstone Circle and Kirkwood Drive for repairs, milling and repaving, if needed. In the case of Spanish Oaks Drive, the road was milled and repaved; however, after the paving was complete, the road had to be reopened for work and was patched in several places.

At the work session, Martin asked Consulting City Engineer Bill Owen to explain why the road was patched after it had been repaved, and why it was not repaved a second time after it was patched.

Owen explained that after the contractor milled and paved the road, the pavement failed in several places because of oxidation. The contractor then had to open up the pavement, repair the subsoil and patch the areas where the pavement failed. Owen said that, although the road “aesthetically doesn’t look that good,” the road is in good repair, and the bumps from the patches will level out in time.

Owen explained that repaving the road on top of the patched areas would not be a good idea, because the weight of the milling machine could worsen the road condition.

This is not an uncommon problem for contractors when paving and milling City streets, Owen explained, because the condition and integrity of the subsoil of the road cannot be determined until a contractor mills and paves the road. Owen cited an example that in a recent project, the subsoil underneath a street varied between only five inches to as much as eighteen inches of subsoil under the road surface.

For road projects, the City calls for bids for repaving and resurfacing, a contractor bids and is awarded a project, and then the contractor proceeds with the work. A contractor bids on the projected scope of work; and, if problems are incurred, the project and the description of the scope of work are accordingly adjusted.

If there are no problems with the subsoil or other issues, the job can generally be completed on time and within the allotted project budget and contractor’s estimate. If the job is more complicated and goes over budget, the Board must vote to approve the change in the project’s scope.

In the case of the street paving improvements project, the total project came in around $51,000 under budget; however, some adjustment to the work done on the roads was necessary, because some only required side-milling as opposed to full milling, and some problems were caused by faulty subsoil under the pavement.

Since the Board of Aldermen are considered financially liable if the scope of a project does not match the completed project, the Board voted 4-3 at the October 20 meeting to wait to make the final payment to the contractor for the project in order to have the opportunity to ask Owen more questions about the project and the change order for the work.

The Board approved the final change order and final payment of $229,626.51 for the 2019 Street Paving Improvements project at the November 3 meeting.

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