The Solano Street Repair Project is still on track to start construction on July 5, announced Corning City Manager Kristina Miller.
“As we get closer to the start date additional information will be posted regarding traffic delays and/or anticipated closures,” she added.
The project is set to correct the severe undulations in the town’s main thoroughfare created when the Solano Streetscrape Improvement Project took place in 2016.
According to Miller, the majority of funding for the repair project is coming through a lawsuit the city filed against Trent Construction, general contractor on the original project, and Ed Anderson, the town's former engineer.
“If repair costs exceed what is provided through litigation and settlement, those costs will need to be funded from the city's general fund,” Miller said. She explained the city funding will be not come from Measure A revenues.
The City Council unanimously approved Walberg, Inc., of Corning as the winning bidder for the project at $979,105, with $44,900 in additive bid items to be paid with Measure A funds.
The Solano Street Repair Project will consist of, but not be limited to, removing and replacing existing asphalt improvements, minor concrete site work, striping and minor landscaping improvements at the intersections of Fourth, Fifth and Sixth streets.
“The proposed corrections focus on reducing the abrupt grade changes at the intersections and improvement of the drainage at isolated locations within the intersections,” City Public Works/Engineer Consultant Robin Kampmann said.
The city, as plaintiff, is claiming Trent Construction, and Anderson, 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.
The case, filed in November 2018, has not been litigated in Tehama County Superior Court, but had a change of venue and moved to Colusa County Superior Court.
According to City Attorney Collin 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.
Anderson said he worked as the city's engineer for 50 years previous to his retirement.
“I am anxious to get this behind us,” he said in a previous interview.
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 and owned by Kendall Trent, 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.