Delay increases city’s engineering expenses

Published 6:41 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Washington’s City Council, during its Feb. 22 meeting, approved additional engineering costs related to water and sewer improvements in the city.

On Jan. 12, 2015, the city awarded the project contract to Hatchell Concrete. The contract time expired Dec. 23, 2015, without the project being completed. Rivers & Associates, the engineering firm hired by the city to help oversee the project, is incurring additional costs because of the project not being completed by the completion date, according to a city document.

The council authorized spending an additional $23,000 on the water component of the project and $37,000 on the sewer component of the project. The overall $60,000 — for project closeout and inspections — will be moved from the project’s contingency budget to the appropriate line items in the project’s budget, according to the document. Some of the improvements are being made at the intersection of South Bonner and Water streets near the North Carolina Estuarium.

Hatchell Concrete is subject to penalties for not completing the project on time, according to Frankie Buck, the city’s public-works director.

Councilman Doug Mercer questioned why the additional money is needed. City Manager Bobby Roberson said the extra expense is related to contract administration.

“That’s primarily what it is. Just like you said, it’s inspection and contract administration. It’s not necessarily design engineering,” Buck said.

Though the project was not completed on time, there is some good news related to it.

“I know the project is going to come in under budget. I know were going to recoup even the transfer money, based on liquidated damages that are being charged,” Buck said.

The project should be completed by the end of this month, Buck told the council.

When Mercer asked about the penalty for the project being late, Buck responded that it is $1,100 a day. As of Feb. 22, that penalty was at $67,000. Once the contractor achieves “substantial” completion, the penalty falls to $800 a day, according to Buck.

“They have completed everything but the punch-list items for the pump station in your area, mayor,” Buck replied when Mayor Mac Hodges asked how much of the project has been completed. Hodges’ business office is on Water Street.






About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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