City, county eye road’s increased costs
by By JOYANNA LOVE Banner Staff Writer
Aug 21, 2013 | 965 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bradley County and the city of Cleveland are pursuing paying for increased road costs on a road for the joint Spring Branch Industrial Park by amending their contract with the state.

If approved, the changes would allow the governments to take excess funds from the north road project to cover additional costs on the south side road. Each road is being constructed to give interstate access to the industrial park.

“They would lessen our commitment on the north side and increase our commitment on the south side,” Bradley County Engineer Sandra Knight said.

Representatives from the city of Cleveland met with the Bradley County finance committee Tuesday to discuss moving forward.

Finance committee chairman Ed Elkins voiced concerns about the plan.

“The bottom line is if we take money out of the north (road) and then there is some problem with that, we don’t have something to fall back on,” Elkins said.

Knight said half of the project is being funded by state funds and the other half by local funding. The local funding is equally split between the city and county.

The project was estimated to cost $4 million.

However, erosion control issues have caused the contractor to request nearly $434,000 to replace and fix elements to control water flow. Knight said it looks like the north interstate connector road will be under the budgeted amount. Elkins asked if there was a way to be certain the north road project would come in under budget. Knight said if the north project receives as much heavy rain as the south side there could be similar complications.

“The longer the project goes and the more the rain hits ... you have to replace erosion controls, you have to repair, so that starts eating up these line items for that stuff,” Cleveland engineering director Jonathan Jobe said.

“This are a lot of change orders from the percentage of what the original project was bid for,” Elkins said.

Jobe said the bid was based on the estimated amount of erosion control measures that would be needed.

“He already knew some of them would have to be replaced during construction (and planned for that.) This project originally was supposed to be done by Oct. 31 of last year,” Jobe said.

He said the lengthy time of the project has caused some of the issues.

According to Jobe, the road was originally estimated to be completed in three months. The project has been in progress for 16 months, he said. The delays have been caused by a variety of reasons. Elkins and finance committee member J. Adam Lowe expressed concerns about how contractor error may have contributed to issues.

An additional $347,000 has been added to the south road project to change part of the road grade from 8 percent to 6 percent.

Jobe said the plan for the project had originally had the grade at 6 percent but it was changed to 8 percent to save money.

“When we bid out ... there was enough at the time, we didn’t have all these erosion controls (then) ... we had enough money in the budget to bring that grade back down to 6 percent,” Jobe said. “So we went ahead and changed the grade back to 6 percent.”

Elkins said the condition seems “to be getting worse.” Knight said fixing the issue has been delayed because the first plan to address the issue was not approved by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Jobe said TDEC is now considering the new plan.

“We are only probably a month or two from finishing the entire road,” Jobe said.

The north interstate connector road project will not begin for two years.

Also during the meeting:

- Rich Kienlen of misdemeanor probation presented updated information on the proposed work release building for nonviolent inmates who are employed. He committee approved Kienlen giving a presentation to the full Commission. A motion asking Kienlen to meet with Bradley Sheriff Jim Ruth about the project was also passed. Current revenue projections for the work release program to be self-sufficient include 25 state inmates being held in the facility. Kienlen said this would not effect the Sheriff’s Office budget.

- The committee approved amendments to the BCSO budget and the drug court budget.