State gives Crain Avenue Bridge project $421,000, cites delays

By Marc Kovac | R-C Capital Bureau Published:

COLUMBUS -- The state Controlling Board agreed to tack another $421,000 onto the bill for a new Kent bridge, citing delays in the project that weren't the contractor's fault.

The lawmaker panel signed off on a competitive selection waiver on a contract with Beaver Excavating of Canton, which handled the Crain Avenue Bridge project.

The extra money will cover field and home office expenses over 305 delayed construction days, according to documents.

The increase brings the total price of the bridge to more than $17 million. Work included the bridge replacement over the Cuyahoga River and CSX railroad tracks, adjusted roadways on either side and a new utility and pedestrian bridge.

Kent Service Director Gene Roberts said the timeline for the project was a "moving target."

He said it was expected to be finished this summer, but is now on path to be wrapped up in October.

"It's a very complex job, and a lot of things that were identified early on probably became a little more complex," Roberts said.

Roberts confirmed part of the delay was the result of utilities issues, including asbestos removal from AT&T owned utility trunks, and waterline problems.

According to documents, "Multiple issues have significantly delayed the critical path of the project schedule. These issues include revisions to the waterline on the bridge, asbestos AT&T conduit removal, forward abutment footer revisions, multiple retaining wall changes, inability to shut down the existing waterline for relocation work, constructability of the abutment of the pedestrian bridge, unanticipated utility interferences, owner caused delays providing detail necessary to address field conditions and railroad interference."

Roberts said such issues tend to come up with projects involving old construction.

"These weren't delays because of ineptness," he said. "These (issues) are inherent in old communities. There's constant conflicts, and then you multiply that times the railroad and add in the that the project went through multiple winters, and you can see why it would cost more."

Federal funds are covering most of the cost of the bridge, with 20 percent coming from the city of Kent. State officials plan to seek reimbursement for the delays from the utility company, according to documents.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

Staff writer Jeremy Nobile contributed to this report.

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