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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Although Cedar Street in Colfax was expected to be paved at the beginning of July, problems with clay have delayed the project.
The sub-grade in Cedar Street looked good when the weather was dry, and the street was ready to be paved, but then it rained, said a representative from Ayres Associates, the village’s street engineering firm, at the Colfax Village Board’s August 14 meeting.
The problem is that there was clay in the sub-grade, and with the addition of rain, the sub-grade failed, and it could not be paved with failing sub-grade, he said.
The Colfax Village Board awarded the low bid for the Cedar Street project, from West River Street to West Railroad Avenue, to Skid Steer Guy LLC in the amount of $348,815 at the March 27 meeting.
The solution was to take out part of the base bid for $35,500 and add in $19,514 for road-stabilization fabric, earth work and drain tile, the Ayres representative said.
Cedar Street is good now. If there had been no rain, it would have been paved and it would have “held,” but there were four spots that could not be paved, said Rand Bates, director of public works in Colfax.
The deadline for completing the Cedar Street project is September 1.
As soon as the clay was detected, the ribbons of clay should have been dug out and sand hauled in, Bates said.
The road-stabilization fabric and sand are the same price, said Gareth Shambeau of Ayres.
Overall, the project is $15,000 less, noted Gary Stene, village trustee.
The work will end up being cheaper than the bid, and the village will save money, but in hindsight, it should not have been done that way, Shambeau said.
Was anything learned from Cedar Street, or is that just something that happens? Stene asked.
What was learned — if the sub-grade is at all suspect, leave the stabilization fabric in, unless there is 100 percent certainty that there is sand, Shambeau said.
The other thing is that the contractor must keep an eye on the weather, he said.
Since the Cedar Street project is in the contract window, then Skid Steer Guy LLC cannot be forced to get the paving done, Shambeau said.
Ayres Associates is not at the work site to manage the contractor, but rather, to make sure the contractor is following the specifications, he said.
Skid Steer Guy gets the work done, but Ayres has to keep track of what the contractor is doing. The company has “made every project right” and could not be said to be an unqualified bidder, Shambeau said.
Ribbons of clay have created problems for street projects in Colfax since the village first started paving streets.
Lisa Fleming, another civil engineer with Ayres who has worked extensively on street projects in Colfax, has said in the past that it is best to assume there is going to be clay and to plan for the project accordingly.
The Colfax Village Board approved the contract modification for Skid Steer Guy LLC for the Cedar Street project and a pay request for $19,041.50.