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$335,000 Fourth Avenue project delayed until spring

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  The $335,000 Fourth Avenue street project that was scheduled to be completed this fall will now wait until next spring.

Lisa Fleming, a civil engineer with Ayres Associates, reported on the status of the contractor for the Fourth Avenue project at the Colfax Village Board’s September 22 meeting.

The village board awarded the low bid of $336,676 to R.M. Schlosser Excavating out of Durand at the board’s June 23 meeting with the expectation that the project would begin in August or early September.

Schlosser still has work to finish in Fountain City and Independence before work could be started on the Colfax project, Fleming said.

At what was supposed to be a pre-construction conference, Fleming said the contractor said he could start work right away.

When Fleming asked, “Where’s your crew?” the contractor replied, “I’m it.”

Fleming says she is always uneasy about starting street projects in the fall because of the weather, which can turn cold or rainy and not be conducive to working on street projects.

Fleming said she had convinced the contractor to hold the bid until next year and that the contractor had agreed to pay Colfax for time and materials for a sewer main that will be fixed during the street project.

Village employees must regularly jet the sewer main to keep it open.

The time and materials payments will begin from October 15 and will continue until the contractor starts the project next spring, Fleming said.

“You will get a better job — a better finished product — if you wait until next spring,” she said.

Several village board members wondered what would happen if the contractor went out of business over the winter.

Schlosser has been in business for 35 years, Fleming said, adding that she thought it was unlikely he would go out of business over the winter now.

If the contractor were to go out of business, the village would contact the contractor’s bonding company, would receive five percent of the contract, and could re-bid the project next year, she said.

Five percent of the contract would amount to nearly $17,000.

The amount of rain that has fallen on West Central Wisconsin since this spring has made it difficult for all of the contractors to finish their work as quickly as they would have liked, Fleming said.

Fleming said she was concerned that if the contractor started now, he would cut down the selected trees along Fourth Avenue, would dig up the pavement and would then leave the rest of it until spring.

“I think it’s the best decision (to delay until next spring),” Fleming said.

The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved a change order canceling the Fourth Avenue project for this fall and changing the start date to the spring of 2015 within seven days of the road bans being removed.