Crews had to pull 200 feet of new concrete due to plan errors
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Crews have poured concrete on most of the stretch of Hwy. 61 from 2nd to 6th, but a gaffe in plans caused about 200 feet of new west bound concrete had to be torn out last week.
On June 11, workers with Jones Contracting out of West Point started laying concrete at Business 61 and Avenue G running west around the curve toward the former Sheaffer building.
Several days later officials noticed an error in the design plans and had to tear out several hundred feet, according to Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld, had to be torn out.
City Public Works Director Mark Bousselot and City Manager David Varley were both out of the office Monday and couldn’t respond to questions on the issue, but Mohrfeld said the city will not be on the hook for any additional expenses, and the project is still on schedule.
According to Mohrfeld, who’s comments were based on an update he received from Bousselot last week, there was some misunderstanding between the city’s engineer on the project, HR Green of Cedar Rapids and the surveyor for the work – Bruner, Cooper, and Zuck Inc. with offices in Galesburg, Burlington, and Bettendorf.
“When they picked a line for the elevations, it would appear that either they picked the wrong line or the elevations were wrong and it was at the point where there was no other recourse than to take it out and repour it,” Mohrfeld said.
Mohrfeld couldn’t put a dollar figure on the cost to replace the concrete, but he did say that the engineer and the subcontractor have worked that out and the city will not be on the hook for the cost. He also said the project will not be set back as far as time because of the error.
“It doesn’t seem to me to be setting the project back and I asked that question,” Mohrfeld said. “Mark’s answer was that it won’t.”
Mohrfeld said HR Green and the subcontractors picked up on the error very quickly and responded, but he was surprised at the size of the glitch.
“This mistake surprises me, and the size of it surprises me. If I was HR Green or the surveyor, that would have been pretty intense, but this is no fault of Pat Jones and no fault of his subs,” he said.
“It is what you want to see? Obviously not. Everyone raises an eyebrow, but they stepped immediately up and took charge of it.”
Mick Olson, Vice President with Bruner, Cooper, and Zuck, said there were some inconsistencies in the paper plans, but he said it falls on him.
“Ultimately, it was caused by some layout issues. There were a lot of inconsistencies from the plans and it falls on me,” he said. “Preparing the data, we had to use some electronic files because information was not in the paper plans. When I did our checks it caused us to stop.”
Olson said his firm has never had to pull concrete before, and won’t know what the price tag on the correction will be until the project is complete.
“Do we make errors? Yeah We deal with a lot of math and process, but this is very uncommon for us see something like this,” Olson said.
“I can say we met with the city once I discovered it, as we were planning other layout data. We went there and verified it and then I met with Jones Contracting, the city rep, and a rep from HR Green,” Olson said.
“The conversation was there was not enough information in the paper plans to determine the location. That led me to (Computer Assisted Design) CAD files for the rest of the information. We see this more and more often that there’s not enough complete information in the plans.”
The rest of the concrete outside of the approximate 200 feet near 2nd Street just east of the Sheaffer building has been poured on both sides up to 6th Street.
The Highway 61 rehab has been in the works since the state gave the property to the city along with about $13 million in 2013. Some improvements including the 27th Street and Avenue L interchange, and the S curve east of 36th Street, have already been completed.
The highway will become a 3-lane highway with turning lanes in the center and will eliminate the pair of one-ways on 18th and 20th Streets between Avenues H and L.
Olson said the 200-feet will have to be reflagged this week, before it can be repoured.