Frustration follows water line work


Workers replace water lines on Court Street near West Sixth Street earlier this week. City officials said problems such as dust or debris runoff from the trenches caused by the work are to be expected. However, officials also have some frustrations regarding the pace of the project.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Will Channell)
Frustration is coming from both residents and Marysville city officials regarding this year’s water line replacements.
For much of 2017, drivers have contended with shallow trenches on Court and Eighth streets. These troughs are the result of the City of Marysville’s effort to replace aging water lines.
City Engineer Jeremy Hoyt said this year’s project is replacing about 5,600 feet of older cast iron lines. City Utility Engineer Kyle Hoyng said the city has seen some water main breaks in those areas in the past few years.
“We just knew it was time to replace those,” Hoyng said.
Hoyng said there have been complaints from residents about the trenches impacting motorists and areas near sidewalks being “messier than normal.”
Hoyt said those concerns are understandable, considering how long it’s taken the contractor to get the work done.
“Obviously we sympathize with that, and are grateful they’re bringing that to our attention,” Hoyt said.
Hoyng said the messy areas near the trenches are to be expected, especially during periods of heavy rainfall. Coupled with vehicles constantly driving over them, much of the debris used to fill in the trenches will wash away.
Hoyt noted that while the contractor, Rock River Construction, is technically working on a city project, it’s up to that contractor on how they get the project done.
“We can’t tell the contractor what to do,” Hoyt said. “We give them specs and say, ‘at the end, you have to have this much done by this date.’ That’s all we can say.”
The city plans on continuing repair work going into next year. City Finance Director Justin Nahvi said there’s about $320,000 budgeted for water line replacement on Eighth, Mulberry and Third streets in 2018.
Hoyng expressed disappointment in the contractor’s cleanup work, and said officials would have preferred a quicker pace on the project.
Hoyt also mirrored Hoyng’s concerns regarding cleanup work.
Hoyt said Rock River Construction is a contractor you have to remind, more often than not.
In the end, however, Hoyt said patience is key.
“Once it’s done, it’s going to be done how we want it,” Hoyt said. “Things probably could have run a little bit smoother in retrospect.”
Court Street resident Barbara Bushong said the work hasn’t bothered her all that much. She did, however, say that amount of dust kicked up by the work has been a concern.
She said she “hopes they will finish it up nicely.”
“I hope the city really encourages them that it’s finished right,” she said.
Eighth Street resident Jason Rasor said while the work is an inconvenience, the project will be worth it in the long run. He said it’s “easy to focus on the bad in any situation.”
“I can see they’re working as hard as possible,” he said. “In the end, it’s going to be better for us.”
Hoyt said that since Marysville is a municipality, it has to go with the “lowest and best” bidder when searching for contractors. Contractors who the city has worked well with in the past might put in a bid, but if the city believes a second contractor who bid lower will do a good job, the city will go with the second company.
“It’s just one of the things you have to deal with, being a municipality with our purchasing policies,” Hoyt said.
He said the next phase of the project will work to replace about a 1,000 feet of Sixth Street between Maple and Main Streets.
Hoyng said there are concerns about doing that paving work as the year moves into winter. According to him, asphalt plants generally shut down in November.
“To be able to pave, the weather has to be above 40 or 45 (degrees),” he said.
City Manager Terry Emery said there’s a stipulation in the agreement allowing the city to collect a fee from the contractor if it goes over the project deadline. He said the city will take advantage of that if needed.
Hoyt noted that the water department uses temporary concrete, but also said that would be more money for the contractor to spend. Hoyng said the city’s agreement with the contractor requires the company to put in asphalt. If the work isn’t completed early enough, they’ll be forced to use temporary concrete, then return in the spring to fill in the asphalt.
Hoyt said the city stipulated that the contractor could only move onto Sixth Street once they get the current work finished.
“That way, the whole city’s not torn up the way that it is,” he said.

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