Shoddy Road Repair Work On Water Street Draws Ire Of Saugatuck City Council
All “chopped up, patched up” is how Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier, during Monday’s city council meeting, described the recently finished rebuilding of a portion of Water Street.
An obviously displeased Saugatuck City Council discussed the asphalt subcontractor Rieth & Riley’s “unacceptable” work, exacerbating what has already been a frustrating street improvement process.
For example, the subcontractor was late in starting by a number of weeks.
The delay prompted city officials to issue two statements of apology for the inconvenience to affected residents and merchants.
Now those same residents and merchants will have to deal with a sub-standard street upgrade until next spring. It is too late in the season to redo any of the work and make any improvements this year, said city officials.
Fleis & VandenBrink Vice President Steve VandenBrink of the city’s engineering firm hired to oversee the project, was present Monday to try and address the council’s concerns, including the question of who had “dropped the ball” on the road project.
“There is a lot of areas that instead of having a smooth surface, have exposed aggregate—that is not normal. If left like that, there is a chance that it may deteriorate faster than normal pavement,” VandenBrink told the Observer Newspapers about some of the serious problems.
“My concern is that is our city staff found out (about the problem) before the the Fleis & VandenBrink project manager,” said Saugatuck Mayor Pro Tem Bill Lint.
VandenBrink said his firm’s project manager simply did not catch the problems right away.
He also told council that Fleis & VandenBrink had an ongoing concern, documented in memos, that the general contractor - Schipper’s Excavating - was not “providing adequate provision” on site.
The documentation of those concens, said Harrier, will help the city in its pursuit to fix the problem.
“We are not prepared to provide a recommendation to the city whether it (the road work) should be accepted or rejected,” VandenBrink told the council, adding that his firm was currently seeking input from paving specialists from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
The contractor has a legal obligation that any work performed would adhere to MDOT specifications, explained VandenBrink.
“It is acceptable what they (the contractor) did at Blue Star Highway. What they did at Water Street is unacceptable,” he said, adding that his firm has had a long-term relationship with Schipper’s but no serious issues about their work had arisen before.
Harrier said the contractor’s company is bound by a legal agreement to make any necessary corrections and do so at the contractor’s expense.