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City accepts shoddy work, keeps $3,750

By ELIOT SILL

Staff writer

A small strip of Main St. asphalt west of where it intersects with First St. will be left as is despite uncertainty as to its durability, Marion City Council decided Monday.

Darin Neufeld, an engineer for Evans, Bierly, Hutchison, and Associates, told the council its options were limited: either accept the job as is, or write a letter to Kansas Paving’s bond company beseeching the construction company to fix the project, which was part of a Kansas Department of Transportation connecting link (KLINK) initiative.

The KLINK project was not paid because it failed to comply with the city’s specifications. The asphalt was applied during a rainstorm, which washed away the tack oil that binds the new asphalt to the surface below.

Neufeld, who was driving to a junior high football game at the time, ran into the rainstorm about three miles outside Hillsboro, and tried to call back to the site and stop work. Citing company policy, Kansas Paving, a company out of Park City, continued with the job, Neufeld said.

EBH and Associates, upon inspecting the job, wrote a letter to Kansas Paving saying it wouldn’t receive its $15,000 unless it returned and redid the project to proper specification. It has written two letters since then, Neufeld said.

Neufeld said after being contacted, the Kansas Department of Transportation agreed with the decision not to pay the company, but that was it.

“They’ve backed us on that part, but they haven’t backed us as far as getting them to come fix it,” Neufeld told council. “They haven’t stepped in.”

Neufeld voiced concern that if the company was required to come back and redo the job, they would do “a crappy aesthetic job that would meet specifications.”

Neufeld said it would be grounds for rejecting future bids from Kansas Paving, Inc., even if the company is the low bidder.

For the city, the decision to leave the job alone means a job worth approximately $15,000 is done for free, and the city saves approximately $3,750 in capital improvement funds, Neufeld said.

“In essence, the city of Marion has received 180 tons of asphalt at no cost,” he said. “It was not applied according to spec because there’s a spec both in our spec and in the KDOT spec that says ‘thou shalt not pave in the rain.’”

Neufeld said it’s unknown how long the work will hold up because of the many factors that can cause wear and tear on the asphalt.

“We could have mild winters for the next 20 years, and it’d be there in 20 years,” he said. “If we have bad freeze-thaw winters for the next two years, it may come up in two.”

The highway is KDOT’s responsibility to fix, but funding for patch fixes could be drawn from the approximately $3,750 that would have gone to the paving company, Neufeld said.

Last modified Oct. 29, 2014

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