The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dena Martin
The Times 

Main Street Bridge Completion Delayed

Bridge may open this year, or not


November 23, 2017

Dena Martin

This photo, taken this week, shows the different stages of the Main Street Bridge rails, in progress, from rebar, to blanketed concrete being cured, to the finished rails.

WAITSBURG – The new Main Street Bridge on Waitsburg's north end was set to be complete last week, but a complication with the rails has resulted in a delay. A potentially significant delay, depending on how the weather cooperates.

City Manager Randy Hinchliffe told council members at the Nov. 15 regular city council meeting that the bridge may be finished this year, but could take as long as next spring to complete. Hinchliffe attributed the delay to the windowed side rails.

"The subcontractor doing that portion of the job is moving at an extremely slow pace. I think they thought that they were going to be able to use the window frames so they were going to be able to pour more sections at a faster pace. They're basically having to dig every one of those out of the form as they peel away, so they are basically not reusable, so that is slowing them down," Hinchliffe said.

Hinchliffe said the contractor, Harry Johnson Plumbing & Excavation, completed his last official contracted working day on Mon., Nov. 13, and is now paying liquidated damages for delayed completion.

"Every day that bridge is not done is costing him $2435," Hinchliffe said.

"The city engineer has requested a schedule of how he's going to get to completion. Based on what's left to do, if the weather holds, it will probably be done this year. If the weather gets drastically colder, they could shut down and finish in the spring of next year," he added.

Hinchliffe said that once the rail on the east side is complete the contractors will lay a waterproof membrane and begin work on the sidewalk on that side while the rail is being completed on the opposite side.

"If rails on both sides of the bridge and the membrane get installed they can pave that last section which put it as substantially complete and it can be open for traffic," Hinchliffe said.

If the weather becomes too cold to work, the contractor can request a winter shut down.

"At that point in time, everything stops. Work stops, liquated damages stop, and work resumes in spring," Hinchliffe said. "He can't request that until such time that he or his sub can't physically work," he added.

Hinchliffe said the biggest issue, going into winter, is that there is nowhere for the water to go and it will create a lake on the bridge decking. Hinchliffe said they are trying to come up solutions if it looks like that might be the case.

"Other than that, it looks good. The approaches look good, the sidewalk looks good . . . if the weather holds, it'll be done . . . sometime. I'd like to see that be this year, but I can't guarantee it," he said.


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