Construction on Confluence Drive is off to a fast start, with progress taking place on three fronts.
Public works director Jim Hatheway reports pile driving has been completed and caissons and piers have been poured for the portion of the roadway that will be elevated over the railroad tracks.
Work has started on the "falsework" which will ensure the safety of workers forming the pier caps.
From Foster Farms to Silver Street, crews are boring beneath the railroad tracks with a 60-inch steel pipe which will carry stormwater. This work is being done by hand, with men digging out a tunnel, filling a cart with dirt and hauling the cart back out through the pipe, which is rammed forward slowly as the project progresses. On Thursday, subcontractors with Underground Infrastructure Technologies were just 10 feet shy of completing the 85-foot-long tunnel. "This is an interesting process," Hatheway said, "and a litle more labor intensive than I had anticipated."
On the east side of Foster Farms, beet waste is being excavated. The waste is a leftover from the Holly Sugar factory which once occupied that site.
Soil testing did not reveal the substandard soil beneath the beet waste, prompting a major change order for the project. At the Feb. 19 city council meeting, Hatheway sought funding to address the "muck" beneath the beet waste.
In response to a question from councilmember Robert Jurca, city manager Justin Clifton said the contingency budget is just over $1 million. "I don't want to minimize spending 40 percent of the contingency on a project that's just 10 percent complete, but it's typical in a project of this nature, soil stabilization is the biggest area of vulnerability," he said.
The solution has been vetted by two different geotechnical firms, Clifton added, and both firms are comfortable it will solve the problem.
After the change order was approved, discussion turned to the direction council will take in regard to future change orders. To avoid project delays — and the need for special meetings — it was suggested the public works director be authorized to okay change orders of up to $50,000. The city manager will have the authority to approve change orders up to $250,000, with the understanding the change orders fall within budget and have been vetted by the design team and city staff.
Councilmember Ray Penick said he had no trouble with those guidelines, knowing staff is fully aware of the budget the city is working with. Councilmember Robert Jurca disagreed. He noted 40 percent of the contingency is gone. Two more change orders of that size and the project is over budget, he said.
"We don't have a preference," Clifton said, "other than we'd like to keep the project going."
Hatheway cited a situation which had arisen earlier in the day that had the potential to delay the project. A sewer pipe had to be lowered at a cost of $10,000 to $15,000.
Clifton pointed out not all change orders will cost the city money; they can also result in savings.
Penick made a motion authorizing the public works director and city manager to sign off on change orders not to exceed $50,000 and $250,000, respectively, with the understanding the change orders will be presented to council at their next meeting. The motion passed on a 3-1 vote, with Jurca voting nay. Councilmember Mary Cooper is out of town and did not attend the meeting.
Looking down the road, Hatheway said the property exchange agreement with Union Pacific should be finalized sometime this week. In March, the box culverts for drainage and for the pedestrian tunnel on Palmer Street will be set. Fill will start coming up for the construction of the overpass walls, and materials will continue to arrive on site.
Construction to date is clustered around the Foster Farms silos and has had minimal impact on traffic.blog comments powered by Disqus