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Downtown construction delayed to summer

December 24, 2018

Construction in downtown David City has been delayed to next year.

Although originally slated to be finished up this month, David City Mayor Alan Zavodny said the project is now expected to wrap up in June 2019. Factors behind the delay include cold weather and several brick streets having to be redone - a common trend in the project’s history.

The section of D Street directly in front of the Thorpe Opera House will have its bricks relayed, along with a few other streets. Zavodny said there’s a lip between the bricks and the concrete there that needs to be smoothed out. He said this would be done in the spring.

“It’s really uneven and rough there,” Zavodny said. “We want to make sure that the taxpayers will get what they paid for.”

The Downtown Improvement Project encompasses 10 blocks of downtown David City and is currently estimated to cost about $7.5 million. Work began on June 1, 2017, and was originally estimated to finish by Dec. 1, 2018 - an 18-month time frame. Subcontractor Linhart Construction of Omaha started work on the brick removal and re-installation portion of the project in May 2018.

The plan was to remove the century-old bricks in the road, sort out the good bricks from the bad and then put them back into the road after it had been strengthened, as previously reported by The Banner-Press. While it may have been more work to keep the bricks instead of using concrete, Ward 1 David City City Council Member Skip Trowbridge said it was worth the effort.

“As I look at this sea of gray concrete down this street (North Fourth Street), it just looks like anywhere U.S.A. to me,” Trowbridge said. “That’s what we’re concerned with, the long-lasting appearance that we’re going to have. I think it’s going to be neat when it’s all done.”

Linhart has experienced problems throughout the project. About a month into work, it was discovered the bricks were sinking into the ground as heavy trucks drove over them. Jon McCarville and Al Hottovy of Leo A Daly, the Omaha-based firm designing the project, said it was decided to replace the rock-based Geo-Web that was originally placed underneath the bricks with concrete.

“We weren’t seeing the compaction rate that we needed to see in order to approve the section,” McCarville said. “So because of that, we thought it would be a faster and much better product and cheaper to change it to concrete.”

Because of this, several blocks had bricks taken out and redone, delaying the project by four to six weeks. Hottovy said the south lane of D Street and the west side of Fifth Street from C to D streets had to be taken out and put back in once the concrete was in place. Also, on several occasions, workers used poor-quality bricks or even ones with paint residue on them, which had to be taken out and replaced. These delays, however, will not increase the cost of the project for the city, Trowbridge said.

“It cost the city zero,” Trowbridge said. “Because it should have been done right the first time.”

Zavodny said he expects the city will identify more areas that need to be redone before the project’s completion.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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