By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Fourth Avenue street project in Colfax is still experiencing problems and delays.
In addition to being about a month past the project completion date, the Colfax Village Board learned at the July 13 meeting that 53 curb spots needed repair.
Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, reported that she had received a series of forwarded e-mail messages from Lisa Fleming, a civil engineer with Ayres Associates who is in charge of the project. The forwarded e-mail messages were between Fleming and the contractor R.M. Schlosser Excavating out of Durand.
The first layer of pavement had been put down the Thursday before the village board meeting, but the contractor was not expecting to return to do additional work until later in the week after the village board meeting, Niggemann said.
But the delay in paving turned out to be only one problem with the street project.
A bulldozer was used to pack down the base course in preparation for paving, and as the bulldozer drove along, the blade kept hitting the new concrete curb that had just been installed and ended up knocking out chunks of concrete, Niggemann said.
All together, 53 spots along the new curb on Fourth Avenue needed repair, she said.
Some of the damage was severe enough that sections of the concrete curb had to be cut out and replaced, Niggemann said.
At the June 8 meeting, Fleming had asked the Colfax Village Board for another $18,000 in engineering fees for Ayres Associates to cover additional time spent overseeing the Fourth Avenue project.
The original contract for engineering services with Ayres Associates was for 150 man hours, but Ayres was up to 280 man hours at that point, and the company could end up putting in another 40 or 50 hours, Fleming had told the village board.
The completion date on the contract with Schlosser for Fourth Avenue was June 18.
The contract includes a provision for “liquidated damages,” which means that for every day past the completion date, the contractor owes the village a certain amount of money.
As of the July 13 village board meeting, the amount of liquidated damages owed to the village was a little over $24,000, Niggemann said.
Because it has taken so long to complete, the Fourth Avenue project has been “a huge inconvenience” for residents along that street, noted Mark Halpin, village trustee.
Schlosser was awarded the low bid of $336,767 for the Fourth Avenue project in June of 2014.
The high bid for Fourth Avenue came from Pember Companies out of Menomonie at $424,339.
A1 Excavating, Bloomer, bid $349,311 for the project; Haas Sons out of Thorp bid $353,848; and McCabe Construction, Eau Claire, bid $389,323.
Fall to spring
The Fourth Avenue project originally was scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2014 with construction beginning in August or September.
The contractor was delayed in starting Fourth Avenue, so to avoid being in the middle of the street project when cold weather set in, the village board decided to wait until this spring.
Last year, the Colfax Village Board approved extending the boundary for Tax Increment District No. 3 and adding the Fourth Avenue project so that it could be paid for with TIF funds.
When a tax increment district is formed, the property taxes paid on new value in the district go into a special fund for a certain period of time and can be used to pay for improvements to the TIF, rather than going to the village, county, school district and technical school district.
The Fourth Avenue project will be considered “substantially complete” when the second layer of pavement is put down, but representatives for Ayres Associates will have to inspect the work and approve it as acceptable before the accrual of liquidated damages would stop, Niggemann said.
The July 13 meeting was the first paperless meeting for the Colfax Village Board.
Agendas and meeting packets were e-mailed to village board members, who could then access the information through their cell phones or by laptop computer.
Several paper copies of the agenda and the accompanying information were available for village board members or members of the public if they wanted a paper copy.
In other business, the Colfax Village Board:
• Approved bartender operator licenses for Brian Aasen, Tina Nelson and Megan Erickson.
• Approved the renewal of a chicken license for JoAnn Mayfield and a new chicken license for Katie Webb.
• Learned that Rand Bates, director of public works, and village employees had installed the concrete garbage cans in the parks.
• Learned that the weed ordinance was expected to be on the agenda for the July 27 meeting for the consideration of removing milkweed. Monarch butterflies need milkweed plants for habitat. The disappearance of milkweed in the United States is affecting the monarch butterfly population.
• Received a reminder about the proposed 1,300-acre Albertville Valley Mine public informational meeting for a nonmetallic mining reclamation permit in Chippewa Falls on July 29 in Room 302 at the Chippewa County Courthouse. The proposed frac sand mine will be located a few miles southeast of Colfax. The informational meeting begins at 6 p.m., and the public hearing begins at 7 p.m.