ITD kicks in cash for Highway 57 sidewalk

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PRIEST RIVER — The Highway 57 sidewalk project is back on track this week after the Idaho Transportation Department pitched in $25,000 for unexpected expenses to the project.

City Council members were informed of the additional requirements by ITD during the Oct. 1 City Council meeting, which included several more tons of aggregate and asphalt than initially bid into the project. The issue is a two-foot strip along the shoulder of the highway where ITD required the depth of the base aggregate to be increased from four to six inches, and the asphalt from two-tenths to three-tenths. This added approximately $23,800 to the cost of the project.

"It came up after the project was out for bid, so it was a little bit of a surprise," Shawn Metts with HMH Engineering, the company that designed the project, said during a special council meeting on Monday. "(ITD) understood this ... They understood that they should come forth with some extra funds, and they did, thankfully — that was really great on their part — to pay for the overrun."

The project features sidewalks, raised curbs and gutters along Highway 57 between Jefferson and the high school, and on Jefferson between the highway and Tenth Street. The project also includes two rectangular rapid flashing beacons that will be installed along the Highway 57 corridor for added pedestrian safety. During the Oct. 1 City Council meeting, council members said that while they were short of funds at the time, they were reluctant to remove Jefferson or the beacons from the project. The additional funds, however, will allow them to move forward with those aspects of the project as well, said Mayor Jim Martin.

With the city's initial bid ITD Transportation Alternatives Program grant of $424,918.20, as well as the additional funds from ITD, the city has a budget of $449,918.20 to complete the project. The base bid for the sidewalk along Highway 57 is $425,117.69, and $16,106.41 for sidewalk improvements to Jefferson, for a total cost of $441,224.10. There are no plans for the additional $8,694.11 at this time, except as a buffer for any additional unexpected costs, said Laurel Thomas, city clerk and treasurer.

Also during the Oct. 1 meeting, Stuart Malley with Allwest Testing, the inspector for the project, informed council that 40 cubic yards of concrete were placed with high air, which can cause strength issues. The concrete was being tested with results expected by Monday, which was the initial reason for calling a special meeting this week. If the concrete does not meet certain specifications, Malley said the contract states that the concrete can be rejected by the city, in which case crews would have to remove and replace it, or it could be left in place at a 50-percent pay factor.

While the city received the test results of the seven-day break, the 28-day test will more accurately show the strength of the concrete, Malley said. Therefore, they will not know for three more weeks, but Malley said he believes it will be within the parameters of the specified strength of 3,000 pounds per square inch. The seven-day break came back with a low compression strength of 2,260 psi. In an email to the city's Public Works director, Rex Rolicheck, prior to the meeting, Malley said assuming that is 70 percent of the 28-day strength, that would put it at about 3,200 psi, though he couldn't guarantee that. The main area that remained in question is the approach to the car wash, where vehicle traffic could cause the concrete to fail faster than areas that would only see foot traffic.

"In my personal opinion, I think the concrete would probably be fine and we have already taken extra measures by putting a curant seal on all the concrete rather than just a curing compound," Malley said.

Further discussion will occur on the issue after the 28-day test results come back.

The project, which started in August, was initially expected to wrap up in early October. While an expected completion date was not discussed Monday, the contract between NNAC Construction and the city requires substantial completion of the project by Oct. 31.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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