Oskaloosa sewer project finish date pushed back to spring
by Dennis Sharkey
The Oskaloosa city-wide sewer project was scheduled to be completed next month but has been extended to February.
The project began in 2009 and was scheduled to be substantially completed by Dec. 3. However, 34 days of down time in December 2009 and January of this year pushed work back. Additionally other unforeseen work has been completed that took working days away from the project.
KC Construction now has until Feb. 25 to complete the project but that date could be pushed back if bad weather keeps crews from working this winter. KC Construction owner Dave Brewer requested that the project deadline be extended to March 31 in anticipation of work being halted again by bad weather. However, some on the council pushed back on delaying the deadline any further for different reasons.
Mayor Mike Boyd took a hard stance against any further extensions and told Brewer that if his crews were behind they should have worked overtime. Boyd took exception to crews working four-day work weeks that included 10-hour days.
“There were a lot of Fridays and Saturdays that weren’t worked,” Boyd said. “Now we’re waiting pretty much until the end of the project to say ‘Oh wait a second, we’re behind, we need 54 more calendar days to catch up.’
“There’s seven days in a week. You can work all seven days to get the contract done,” Boyd added. “I don’t believe in people working seven days a week but to me a calendar is seven days.”
Brewer said crews have been averaging six hours of overtime each week but not much more could be added otherwise employee overtime would go over budget.
“We could work every Saturday but then we wouldn’t have made any money,” Brewer said.
Boyd responded by telling Brewer that he cannot see it from his perspective and that he should weigh fines against overtime cost.
“I didn’t bid the project,” Boyd responded. “It’s not my problem to get the job in the allotted calendar days. That’s your guys’ deal. You bid the project to be done at a certain time.”
Councilman Mike Paavola told Boyd that he has operated a construction business for several years and that what Brewer was requesting was not unreasonable.
“I’ve been in his shoes a lot of years,” Paavola said. “If you ask somebody ‘The weather is bad do not work today.’ You’ve got to give that time back. That’s basically all he’s asking for.”
Boyd then said he was in favor of adding in the extra days for down time and extra work that was completed, which drew confusion from Brewer. Brewer asked if he agreed, then why was he objecting to the extension?
“I guess my problem is you’ve been a contractor in the state of Kansas for so many years and you know in December and January that you’re going to have demobilization days,” Boyd said. “That should have already been added into your contract.”
Councilman Allen Wise said he agreed with Paavola, however, he was not in favor of extending the deadline past Feb. 25 until the project reached that point.
“I think we should play catch up to what we know,” Wise said. “Once we get past last year then we’ll know differently. Let’s revisit this when that time comes and then we’re not guessing any more than what we have to.”
Brewer also made the case that sometimes the project can take longer dealing with unforeseen issues such as a collapsed pipe that was discovered recently. The issue took extra days to rectify before construction crews could move forward.
Project engineer Brian Kingsley also sided with Brewer saying that variables can change through the course of the project.
“We told you in the beginning that there are deficiencies that manifested between three or four years ago and now,” Kingsley said. “You’re going to find things like what he’s talking about.”
In other actions:
- The council also approved a change order to put back $14,400 into the project that was removed for rock excavation. Crews did not remove rock but rather spent nearly two weeks additional time hauling in clay to backfill an area filled with silt. Construction Manager Ryan Kelley said in hindsight a geo test should have been conducted prior to bidding the job. He said the city actually saved money because the project would have been bid higher if crews had known.
- The council also approved a bill to engineers for $11,653.
- The council approved a new gas franchise agreement. The new agreement is essentially the same as the current agreement that expires in January. The agreement is for 20 years.
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