"Will money get rotary, roadwork done early?Contract perks will give the construction firm incentive."
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:53 PM
"The city has run out of time to force a contractor to build a traffic roundabout before school resumes in the fall.But persuasion in the form of money might still get the job done.I'm optimistic that the incentives we are building into the contract might get the work done before school begins, city engineer Jeff Jensen said this week.Bids for the High School Road reconstruction, which includes a controversial roundabout at the corner of High School and Madison Avenue, are to be received by July 13, a Friday. The city council will hold a special session the following Monday, July 16, to award the contract.Once the contract is awarded, the bidder by law has 20 working days to review contract documents and secure the necessary bonds, then another 10 working days to mobilize.If a contractor took all the time allowed, work would not begin on the roundabout until the last week in August. That project itself is scheduled to take 21 days, which would mean the work would be ongoing when school opens on September 5.But the city is offering financial incentives for an earlier finish, both to do the job faster than the contract estimates, and to start thework sooner than the law requires.According to Jensen, the contract states that the intersection of Madison and High School can be closed for 21 calendar days to build the roundabout.If the intersection is closed for fewer days, the contractor gets a bonus of $1,000. But for each extra day of closure, a $1,000 penalty is assessed.Another incentive is for an early finish. For each day prior to Labor Day that the job is complete, the contractor can get a bonus of $2,500 up to a total of $20,000, an incentive designed to encourage an early start.It's possible for a contractor to pull the documentation together in three or four days if he wants to, Jensen said.We can't force them to shorten those time periods, but we hope the incentives will be worth pursuing.Because this has been a relatively slow year for major road-rebuilding projects, Jensen expects to find contractors capable of doing the work during the time period in question.After the roundabout is finished, the remainder of the project calls for rebuilding High School Road from Madison west to Sportsman Club Road. That work is scheduled for 19 weeks, or 85 working days, which would extend into the new year.But because some of that work is weather-dependent, Jensen believes the work may not be finished until spring. For most of the time, traffic will be open in at least one direction, he said.The council's meeting is open to the public, but public comment will not be taken unless sought by the council. "