AP NEWS

8th Ave. project more than 3 months behind schedule

November 30, 2018

BELLE FOURCHE — Belle Fourche’s Eighth Avenue project is nearly 13 weeks behind schedule with no end in sight.

Bret Olson, with Heavy Constructors, the Rapid City-based construction firm awarded the project, spoke during Wednesday’s construction update meeting, and told city officials that crews have tracked down and repaired rogue leaks and moving on to paving work in the roadway in the last section of Eighth Avenue before it meets National Street.

Olson said with all the delays in the project, he doesn’t want to promise an overall project completion date.

Chris Robinson, project engineer with HDR Engineering, of Rapid City, the contracted engineering firm on the project, said potential negative consequences in the form of liquidated damages imposed upon the construction company accumulate each working day. The original completion date of Sept. 1 was pushed back to mid-October. Work continues now into the fourth week following the extension deadline. Each workday beyond Oct. 15 racks up $900 in penalties against Heavy Constructors, the contractor awarded the project. Assuming crews worked Monday through Friday, the construction company is on the hook for more that $28,000 worth of penalties.

Currently, Robinson said, the construction company has not applied for a second time extension that could, if approved by the city, eliminate some or all of the financial penalties.

Nafus said Heavy Constructors has brought in extra crews to try to get the project wrapped up as quickly as possible.

To date, approximately $3.527 million of the $4.13 million project has been paid, leaving approximately $603,421 worth of budgeted funds remaining.

The project’s design includes a new sanitary sewer main under Eighth Avenue, starting at the State Street lift station, continuing underneath the Belle Fourche River and near the post office at Eighth Avenue and State Street to the south, ending near National Street.

Currently, Eighth Avenue is closed from State Street south to just after the police department on Jackson Street. Traffic is detoured around the closure.

Work has extended into the field to the west of Eighth Avenue and will continue underneath the Hay Creek Bridge on National Street and wrapping up on Seventh Avenue near Lynn’s Dakotamart. Nafus said National Street will be closed for two to three weeks while crews work to lay pipe underneath the roadway.

The city intends to make needed repairs the Hay Creek Bridge as soon as Eighth Avenue is completely reopened.

The National Street Bridge that runs over Hay Creek just east of Lynn’s Dakotamart is in need of repair work, and the city Oct. 15 awarded a $917,672.95 bid to Journey Group Ainsworth-Benning. Six other companies submitted bids, ranging from $917,672.95 to $1.216 million. The city budgeted $1 million for the project in the 2019 budget.

Nafus said Tuesday that he is unsure when the bridge project will begin but advised that there could be some overlap between the two projects. National Street will be closed for the duration of the bridge repair project, which is slated to be finished by June 1, 2019.

The city engineer’s office, in conjunction with HDR Engineering, Inc., and Heavy Constructors typically meet every other Tuesday morning to discuss the project’s progress. However, due to scheduling conflicts, the next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Dec. 12. The construction update meetings are open to the public and held in the upstairs conference room at Belle Fourche City Hall, located at 511 Sixth Ave.

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