ADA Noncompliance Goal Of Sidewalk Work

Sidewalk work in Lewisburg is expected to continue for the immediate future.

Engineer Roger Kennedy with Chapman Technical helps Lewisburg coordinate the sidewalk project and keeps up with the contractor, Mountaineer Contractors Inc. During the Tuesday, Oct. 19, meeting of Lewisburg City Council, Kennedy said the project has “challenges” with the contractor.

“We’ve had meetings with the Department of Highways (DOH) onsite over construction quality issues several times,” explained Kennedy. “I’ve met with the contractor several times to try to get things repaired and we have withheld payment in the amount of approximately $327,000 of the original contracts.”

What do these issues look like?

“Most of the problems were with transitions from sidewalk to pavement and sidewalk to sidewalk, where they might have completed a pour on one day and then come up to the next day and started a new pour,” Kennedy said. “And those differentials between the slab elevations can’t exceed a quarter of an inch, that’s per Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. We’re looking for flush transitions between elevations and between the sidewalk itself. As far as a percentage of it goes, in the first round of corrections, there was probably 30 to 40 percent of the sidewalk that was not compliant. Since then, it’s probably that we’re probably up around 70 to 80 percent compliant at this point. … We’re in communication with them to get these repairs completed. And keeping DOH notified of our progress.”

After providing the update, Kennedy answered a number of questions. First was from Councilmember John Little, who asked if “these mistakes are something COVID related, skilled labor, or are they related to negligence on the part of the contractor?”

“It’s construction quality,” Kennedy replied. “They had a foreman switch out that did come down with COVID. It’s my understanding they’ve gone through three foremen on the job.”

Kennedy also noted the repairs would not be paid for by the city, “not a cent,” and “the sidewalk is technically still under construction and is closed, but people use it. That’s something else I’ve talked to the contractor about.”

Although there are issues that will be fixed throughout the project, Kennedy also noted that a pole would not be relocated. City Manager Misty Hill said “we’ve had a lot of questions about the pole in the center of the sidewalk. … The pole had to stay, there was no choice in moving out of the sidewalk area. … We’ve measured it a few times to make sure [it was ADA complaint].”

“It’s a balance between construction dollars and being compliant with the work,” Kennedy said. “To move a pole like that, it is in the neighborhood of $20,000 to $25,000. In this case, we have it right away available behind the pole, so we did a bump-out around it. The portion of sidewalk that goes to the inside away from the street is the PAR, the Public Access Route. It’s not uncommon to do that, that’s what we’ve done there.”

The post in the middle of the sidewalk on Route 219. Kennedy pointed to the round section of sidewalk on the right side, explaining it had enough flat, moving space to stay in ADA compliance.

The Greenbrier Gardeners take care of the flower bed on Silo Lane, and Kennedy also addressed them.

“That stop sign should have been installed and not laying in your bed, and I apologize for that. If there’s anything that was damaged, please, if there’s something there that was damaged, let me know and we’ll get it fixed for you.”

The project is part of an overall sidewalk plan, looking to connect downtown to Walmart. Previously, contractor crews extended the sidewalk along Route 219 and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine repaired their retaining wall and shifted the layout of Lee Street.

“This project was started in 2012. We have been working with [Department of Highways] for several years and trying to get this project moving. … We got the contract awarded—there are two contracts for this work. The second one runs from Silo Lane up to the [Rosewood Cemetery] up to the intersection. … The contractor was given a notice to proceed on [March 8] of this year and it’s a 120-day contract, which would have ended July 6. … Since then, they’ve had several delays and have had issues with personnel trying to complete the construction work. You’ve given them significant leeway on contract time and [at] the last extension, they were to complete the work by the end of September. It is now [Oct. 19].”

As of Oct. 21, construction continues.

“My concern is we’re running out of season—like I said we’ve given them a lot of leeway on construction time,” Kennedy said. “So that that clock is ticking, from my perspective.”

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