Skip to comments.Costly mistake by contractor will extend construction time on Highway 30 bridge
Posted on 07/20/2018 1:11:34 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
One of the largest and most expensive road construction projects in Iowa is being delayed because of a big mistake.
A flyover bridge is being built to serve as a new exit ramp to U.S. Highway 30 for motorists heading northbound on Interstate 35 at Ames. Iowa Department of Transportation engineer Scott Dockstader says the contractor, Minnesota-based Minnowa Construction, messed up.
The bridge is being built right now and we have piers in the middle. Our contractor thats constructing the bridge made a few mistakes with the elevation of the piers and more importantly, the anchor bolts that go into the piers to connect the beams arent positioned properly, Dockstader explains.
Workers are now using jackhammers on the six piers that were built too high and will be pouring new concrete to correct the mistake. To make those repairs they are chipping down the concrete to get down to those anchor bolt sleeves to get them positioned properly and while theyre there, they will fix the elevation error also, Dockstader says.
Construction of the flyover bridge was originally estimated at 23 million dollars. The contractor, not taxpayers, will be on the hook for the costly error. Dockstader says Minnowa will forfeit a lot of money for each day the project runs behind schedule. We have liquidated damages on the project of $5,500 per day, Dockstader says. We set this project up to be a two-year project, more than likely, because we have 240 working days. Any of these delays will count against those working days, so its very likely the contractor will be in liquidated damages at the end of the project.
Around 40,000 vehicles pass through the intersection daily. The new flyover bridge was supposed to be ready for traffic by the end of this year. For now, because of the mistake, its unclear when the project will be finished. Dockstader says, when completed, the bridge will be much safer for motorists who currently exit I-35 northbound using a cloverleaf ramp.
What happens when low bid decides who gets the contract.
Retired former Virginia “Class A” (unlimited in $$$) general contractor with 100% satisfied clients in 10 years of being in business, many being Fortune 500 companies & 7 figure NEGOTIATED contracts (not bid).
Exactly. Public works contracting is a PITA because of anti-cronyism provisions. Stuff like this is the price we all pay for that.
Bull. I spent 45 years on construction sites. Mistakes are made by the worst contractors and the best. Paying more doesn’t guarantee perfection. Human error is always a factor.
With the fines put on the company for the delay and the cost of construction defect repair. It will most likely put the company out of business.
I was on liquidated damages on many jobs over the years. You take the hit and keep rolling.
What did you expect for a bridge in flyover country.sarc
It could put the company out if business as you describe but not likely. This kind of foul up is what errors and omissions insurance is for plus performance bonding can be tapped.
“With the fines put on the company for the delay and the cost of construction defect repair. It will most likely put the company out of business.”
Right. Unless the contractor is owned by a woman.
Or a preferred minority.
So, who caught the error? And how safe will the fix be - bonding new concrete to old? Wonder what else might be wrong? I would let the contractor have the “honor” of being the first to try the new bridge......
I did this with a back porch when the concrete piers were a bit short. Worked fine. ;-)
I work in the public projects sector and it sounds like this contract is being managed properly. Things happen, and the contractor pays for his own mistakes plus pays liquidated damages for project delays.
I remember when they were building a bridge across the Mississippi at New Orleans. The approaches on one side of the river didn’t line up with the approaches on the other side. It was discovered by an engineering student who was practicing with some equipment.
An engineering specification or drawing can be wrong. Procurement can substitute a lower cost item not meeting specification. A supplier can substitute non-conforming materials into the supply chain. Quality control can miss something. The change order process can make the wrong decision or make a decision without competent input, etc.
The tops on my construction goofs to resolve had several errors stacked together. The concrete contractor accurately installed an under ground foundation passage for a pipe. The piping contractor connected at the wall penetration and accurately ran his piping through a trench so many feet at a specified angle. Oops, the end of the pile missed the tank connection. Normally, this would be no harm, no foul. That's what elbows and come alongs are for. Oops, the pipe connection missed by a lot. The tank being connected to was a bolted stainless steel tank about 300,000 gallons in size. The panel with the nozzle for the pipe connection was installed in the wrong location. So far, my only grief had been standing between structural and piping contractors blaiming the other for the goof. Fixed that by correctly IDing the root cause to the tank. Had the tank contractor take down the tank and put the panel in the correct location. While this was going on pulling the tank apart, I discovered that the tank manufacturer had also located the nozzle incorrectly on the tank panel. The piping contractor and I huddled and had the tank guy rotate the panel 180 degrees upside down in addition to installing the panel in the correct location on the radius. The pipe guy got a change order for a few more feet of pipe and trench, some additional fittings and welds. The tank guy ate the cost for taking his tank down and reerecting. I added markups to the construction drawings that were rolled up into the as-built drawings at the end of the project. The findings and actions were documented in my daily log and a memo to my engineering and management. A day in the life of a construction manager.
The big change that I have seen over the years is that the top guy on the job usually started with a broom in his hand and learned the business from the ground up. Every stage of it.
Now, most of it is run by kids who never stepped outside in their lives. Their experience comes from whatever the computer tells them. They can’t visualize or realize that what they are doing on the computer doesn’t always work in the real world.
You’re correct. A lot of people simply have no knowledge how these things work, but are experts at arm chair quarterbacking and grousing.
I’ve been an inspector on public works projects, You have to be able to read/understand ALL of the drawings, read/understand all of the applicable codes/specs and the manufacturers’ info. The most common excuse I heard was, “We’ve always done it that way.”
I worked on public works projects for 40 years. Some of the inspectors really knew the business, could cite a lot of stuff right on the spot and make a decision right then and there. Others, not so much. They had to go “research” anything you asked them. The slightest alterations from the plans required meetings and time to think about it. It was easy to tell if they knew the construction business or if they just walked out of a classroom and had never had dirt on their hands.
So who was supposed to inspect the work?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.