NEW ALBANY — The goal is to get it right, but doing so will cost more than was originally budgeted for the Slate Run Road improvement project.
The New Albany Redevelopment Commission agreed Tuesday to extend geotechnical services with the local company S&ME to help remedy issues discovered after paving began on the roadway.
Soil conditions have been blamed for base failures and other issues, and the commission, at the recommendation of the city administration, made the choice to allow the contractor to repave a portion of the recently resurfaced roadway near Garretson Lane headed south.
For the other segment, which stretches from Charlestown Road to about 200 feet north of Garretson Lane, S&ME is recommending base failures be patched.
City Engineer Larry Summers said the additional work is likely to cost at least an additional $200,000 not including another change order for the work. He acknowledged the problems are unfortunate, but added they are not uncommon for road construction in this area.
Summers said soil conditions have hampered other road constructions projects in New Albany in recent years including on Obama Way and McDonald Lane.
“I feel pretty confident in the roadway product we’re going to have in the end,” Summers said.
S&ME did not provide geotechnical services during the design phase of the project. The company was brought in after problems were encountered during construction. Temple and Temple is the paving contractor for the work.
Multiple residents living near the construction have stated their concerns about the road conditions of the project during recent New Albany City Council and New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety meetings.
New Albany City Councilman Josh Turner, who represents District 5, has been vocal about his disapproval with the work. He said Tuesday after the meeting that he’s had trouble getting responses from the administration about the project.
“Now we have an estimated $200,000 more coming from redevelopment to rework a project they tried to cover up,” he said.
Turner added that without residents and others coming forward, the problems with the construction may not have been unveiled.
“I am tired of seeing taxpayers on the hook for substandard goods and services provided by our city and I will never stand for it,” Turner said.
The project stretches from Charlestown Road to near Lochwood Apartments. It includes new sidewalks, ADA ramps, curbs and a stormwater system, along with the paving. The aim was to have it finished before school started, as the construction area is near Slate Run Elementary School. With the new work that will have to be performed, officials estimated the project will extend at least another three weeks.
The final cost for the additional work won’t likely be known until later this month.
Commission members acknowledged the situation isn’t ideal, but they stressed the important part is to ensure the roadway is stable.
“I want to make sure that our final product here holds,” said Adam Dickey, a member of the commission. “The focus here is on making sure this is right.”
Dickey requested a bi-weekly update at the commission’s regular meetings on the status of the project moving forward.
Summers added that even with geotechnical services conducted prior to construction, issues with soil can’t always be detected until work begins.
“I would have to say that it’s worth every cent to ensure that we have the best product in the end,” he said.