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Take two on phase two

By NICK NARIGON

The City of Marengo is preparing to send out bids for phase II of the downtown streetscape project with a couple extra caveats.

Phase II, which includes the reconstruction of one-block sections of Marengo Avenue, Washington Street and Court Avenue, was originally scheduled to begin in July. However, the bids came in over the $1.25 million budget and Marengo City Council decided to send bids out again.

Greg Roth, project architect with Veenstra and Kimm, Inc., told the city council Oct. 26 that the project plans will be sent out again to prospective contractors with a few additions that are meant to improve the quality of the project.

Marengo City Council member Kelli Krutsinger expressed concern that in phase I of the streetscape project, the concrete in front of the post office is wavy. She expressed that the smoothness should not be an issue with phase II.

Because of the condition of the block of Washington Street in front of the post office, All-American Concrete, the contractor that built phase I, paid the City of Marengo a penalty of $2,000.

Roth said the bidding documents for the project will include specifications for smoothness of the concrete. He said it is a modified DOT spec. The smoothness will not be as stringent as it will be for a highway, but will be reasonable for a roadway with a lower speed limit, Roth said.

He noted the same spec was used on the letting for the Roberts Avenue construction project.

“The smoothness spec in its entirety is new. We did not have that originally,” Roth said. “But given the occurrences of last time we thought it is probably more important to have that in there than not have it in there.”

There are two other specifications of note in the bidding documents, Roth said. One is there is a finishing requirement for the concrete spec in that at the end of the project there will be a visual inspection for uniformity.

In addition, there is a general note in the specs saying the streetscape project is a beautification improvement project.

“The visual aspect of this is going to be very important and critically looked at as far as acceptance of the project at the end,” Roth said. “What you are doing is deterring contractors that know they do marginal work.”

If the contractor does not meet the smoothness specs, Roth said the contractor will either incur a penalty or they will be required to grind down the concrete. Grinding down the concrete will deteriorate the lifespan of the concrete, he said.

Including the new specs in the plans should not increase the cost of the project dramatically, Roth said. The bidding environment is pretty positive, he said.

The letting for phase II will probably be held in January, Roth said. If bids don’t come in at the council’s liking, he said another letting could be held in late February and construction can still begin in spring of 2010.

“Predominantly, the plans are ready,” Roth said. “It’s a matter of getting notices out, getting those published and having that letting date so you can go through the normal steps.”

Marengo City Administrator Brent Nelson said by including the new specs, the city is making it known to contractors the city takes the project very seriously.

“I think a lot of the contractors are aware of our distaste for the first phase, so they know what to expect,” Nelson said.

UPDATED November 4, 2009 12:09 PM

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