Friday July 31, 2015

The City of Delta and Union Pacific Railroad have finally come to agreement on a land exchange that will move the south half of the truck route off dead center.

In a press release issued last week, the city explained an amendment was needed to allow both parties to close on the exchange of property while certain remediation work was being completed.

The exchange of property has been the primary holdup preventing the removal of old railroad tracks and clearing the way for the remaining road construction.

“This certainly clears a significant hurdle,” city engineer Jim Hatheway said. “We have some work to do yet to prepare the newly constructed tracks and start building the southern half of the road, but the project is still progressing forward.”

City staff anticipates that it will take another 30 to 60 days to execute the new contract amendment, address some utility licensing work, schedule the tie-in of the new tracks, and season the tracks to ensure proper function. All of that will need to be complete before Hamon Contractors can begin building the new roadway where existing UPRR tracks sit today.

During this time, the press release states, Hamon will continue to direct work to complete paving of the northern half of the project and address punch list items for work already completed. The workload will continue to be light until construction on the south end begins. City staff anticipates there will likely be days and even a period of a few weeks where Hamon will pull its crews to save on general conditions costs. However, any full suspension of work will only occur after work is completed on the northern half of the project.  

City manager Justin Clifton said, “It’s always unfortunate when things don’t move as quickly as you would like. Our obligation is not just to get the project complete as quickly as we can but to do so in a cost-effective way. We will continue to manage our contracts to minimize costs where possible. Rest assured we want to get this project done right.” 

Although the city had hoped to avoid any delays in work this spring and summer, the schedule remains intact to complete the project this fall. Hatheway said, “Based on preliminary feedback from UPRR, our completion date really hasn’t changed much since the beginning of this year. What has changed is the week-to-week schedule and our approach to performing work. Our path forward reflects an attempt to avoid costs while there is only a little work to do but really get after it once we can move south of 5th Street. Of course we’ve also learned to be careful setting expectations. Unforeseen circumstances can still impact our ability to make the progress we’re anticipating.”

Once paving is completed on the northern portion of the truck route, Gunnison River Drive will be opened to Palmer Street, where temporary stop signs will control traffic. The overpass and other portions of the truck route between Palmer and 5th Street will remain closed until the rest of the project is completed and appropriate striping and traffic signals are installed.

Hathway can be reached at 874-7912 for anyone having questions or concerns.

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