An August trial has tentatively been set for the lawsuit in which the City of Corning is suing the construction company and the engineer who did the work on the town's Solano Streetscape Project.

“Due to COVID-19, the courts are prioritizing criminal cases over civil cases at this time,” said the city's attorney, Collin Bogener.

The project has been the subject of debate and complaint from residents since its completion, which some say left the town's main thoroughfare like a minor rollercoaster.

The city, as plaintiff, is claiming Trent Construction, the general contractor on the job, and Ed Anderson, the city's former engineer who prepared the plans and specifications for the project, failed in their duties and left Solano Street in worse condition than what it was previous to the project.

However, according to Tehama County Superior Court documents, the case, filed in November 2018, will not be heard locally as a change of venue was granted by the court and moved to Colusa County Superior Court.

According to Bogener, the request for the change of venue came from Anderson's attorney.

Bogener also confirmed Trent Construction has filed a lawsuit against Anderson in his capacity as the engineer on the project.

Colusa County Superior Court said Anderson has “answered” the cross complaint filed by Trent Construction, a case management conference took place as have depositions.

City Manager Kristina Miller said she could not comment on the lawsuit as it is an ongoing case.

Kendall Trent, owner/operation of Trent Construct could be reached for comment.

“Attorneys from my insurance company is handling everything,” said Ed Anderson.

Anderson worked as the city's engineer for 50 years previous to his retirement.

“I am anxious to get this behind us,” he added.

The streetscape project was paid for by state Transportation Improvement Program funding. The project had been in the works since 2011 when Anderson prepared the design for the improvements which called for excavation of the old concrete pavement within the crosswalk areas and replace it with aggregate overlaid with pavers (ended up being stamped concrete), remove downtown sidewalks behind the curbs and replace them with new concrete, landscaped bulb-outs at the intersections and the roadway to be ground down about 3-inches and a 3-inch asphalt concrete overlay installed according to industry standards. In addition, the project required making the historic downtown section of Solano Street into a two-lane roadway with bike lane and center turn lane.

Trent Construction, out of Gerber, won the bid process and entered into a project contract agreement with the City in 2016.

According to court documents, the city is claiming, “After Trent (construction) ceased work on the contract, portions of the roadway on Solano Street replaced under the contract, began to subside and deform, resulting in noticeably rough transitions along Solano Street that can be felt by those traveling by vehicle along it.

“This has resulted in a roadway that is worse than that which existed prior to the contract's performance, rather than an 'enhancement' of it.”

The city said it discovered the defects around August of 2017.

Testing, in the form of taking out roadway depth samples, on the section of Solano Street in question has been conducted by both the city and Trent Construction.

According to the city's test samples, the asphalt concrete's thickness was far less than the contract's required 3-inch thickness, and is some locations, less than half the required thickness, and the job was conducted below industry standards.

As for Anderson, the city claims the engineer, “negligently designed the plans and specifications for the contract by failing to design the replaced portions of roadway on Solano Street to have the appropriate thickness and compaction of asphalt concrete, subgrade, and/or aggregate base.”

In addition, the city alleges Anderson was negligent in designing the plans and specifications in a way to structurally handle the level of truck traffic Solano Street sees.

Damages the city is seeking against both defendants, Anderson and Trent Construction, is in the amount it will cost to correct the problems of the roadway.

In addition, the city is alleging a breach of contract against Trent Construction and the sub-contractors associated with the project.

The city is seeking judgement against Anderson, Trent Construction and sub-contractors for compensatory damages, cost of suit, attorney's fees, and whatever else the court “deems just and proper.”

Handling the case for the city, along with Bogener, is Michael L. Ricks Jr., of Moore and Bogener, Inc.

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