In July, when Neel-Schaffer Engineering took over the management of a $6.5-million paving/concrete project in the city of Columbus that had already fallen hopelessly behind schedule, the firm’s Kevin Stafford told the city council he hoped the project would be complete by fall.
A month ago, Stafford suggested the work would be completed by Thanksgiving after contracted deadlines for both the paving company (Walters Construction) and the concrete company (JEM Concrete) had expired, triggering a $500 per day penalty until the work was completed and approved.
Walters Construction’s contract deadline was Sept. 23. JEM Concrete received a 45-day extension, which expired on Oct. 26.
According to those timelines, Walters has racked up $31,000 in fees, while JEM has accrued $14,500.
Monday, Stafford said both companies are nearly finished with their work.
“I’d say the paving is 90 percent finished and the concrete work is 95 percent finished,” Stafford said. “They’re both close now. Both should be done by the end of the year.”
Mayor Keith Gaskin remains a touch skeptical, given the delays he’s seen since the summer.
“I’m told that the city street paving should be nearing completion by Christmas,” Gaskin said. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Stafford said there’s clear evidence that both companies are making real progress.
“Most of the major paving has been done,” Stafford said. “The only major road left to be paved is 14th Avenue (North). There are some smaller streets, but they won’t take a lot of time to pave. The majority of the work now is some clean-up and striping and shoulder work, the things that are on our punch-list that have to be finished before we accept and approve the work.”
Stafford said Walters Construction has brought in a sub-contractor to help with some of those tasks.
Although JEM Concrete’s project was small — just $300,000 for sidewalks and ADA pedestrian accessibility — the company’s progress was stalled when some of its work failed to meet specifications and had to be redone.
“They’ve torn out most of those and are finishing them up,” Stafford said. “They’re really close. I think they both should be finished by the end of the year, hopefully.”
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]