By Mark Waite
Crews for Wulfenstein Construction will be putting a final layer of asphalt on Dandelion Street starting Friday, working through the Memorial Day weekend, Nye County Public Works Director Dave Fanning told county commissioners Monday.
Commissioner Butch Borasky said he’s received complaints about a lack of flaggers on the Dandelion Street project.
“There’s two or three people that said to me there’s very few or no flaggers at all,” Borasky said.
The road is being reconstructed between Highway 160 and just south of Calvada Boulevard; it is also being widened to three lanes. A bike lane is also being paved. Wulfenstein Construction was awarded the $1.057 million contract.
Dandelion Street is being kept open while road construction is underway, while the earlier Homestead Road project closed that thoroughfare off entirely, which eliminated the need for flaggers.
Elsewhere in Pahrump, there were questions about different paving projects.
Pahrump town board candidate Bill Dolan wanted to know if road improvement work on Gamebird Road west of Winchester Drive was ever completed. Fanning said the county repaired that stretch of road, though Dolan said residents thought it would include chip sealing.
After that, county crews are supposed to address Charleston Park Drive, which Dolan said urgently needs repair. He complained that Fanning has repeatedly said in reports to the county commission it would be another two weeks before that work started.
“For those in the community who ride motorcycles, especially trikes, three-wheeled motorcycles, if you go down Charleston Park Avenue, if you have a passenger on the back of your trike that passenger better be hanging on for dear life. That road is atrocious to go down. It’s very dangerous to go down with a motorcycle,” Dolan said.
Fanning said Wulfenstein Construction is supposed to deliver material Tuesday to fix Charleston Park Avenue as well as parts of Leslie Street and Bell Vista Avenue.
Commissioner Dan Schinhofen said the county has lots of roads like Charleston Park Drive, while gas tax revenues have decreased by $500,000. He said it’s one of the reasons the Regional Transportation Commission is advocating a three-cent increase in the local gas tax.
Charleston Park Avenue was originally at the top of a list of roads targeted for improvement by the advisory committee putting together the Pahrump Capital Improvement Plan, but Homestead Road then became a higher priority.
On the Blagg Road project, commissioners approved a $25,000 contract Monday with Sigma Engineering Solutions Inc. to provide third party inspections during the removal and replacement of sewer line trench back fill.
Wulfenstein Construction has been contracted for $2.36 million to remove the old trench backfill and refill the trench, which gave way in December 2010 opening up sinkholes and causing two lift stations to sink. Their contract also includes repaving sections that had to be torn up from Basin Avenue to just north of Adkisson Street.
Sigma Engineering will provide inspections for daily, weekly and monthly field reports. The company will observe and inspect the removal of asphalt concrete and aggregate base; verify the adjustment of manhole covers to final grade; observe and inspect the removal and replacement of the sewer line and lateral trench backfill, as well as identify any safety concerns.
The company will inspect the asphalt and verify it meets Nye County Code, along with verifying the elevations and depths.
Sigma will review compaction test results, inspect the grading of the shoulder and verify compliance with bid documents.
But exploration costs, geotechnical and utility investigations, materials, testing and other work is not included in their scope of work. Gradation and compaction tests will be done by another party.
Borasky wanted it clarified what Sigma’s scope of work will be.
“Who will be responsible? Are they going to be doing compaction tests for us while they’re providing third party inspections?” he asked.
Fanning said, “they are not. These are third party inspections only, no compactions as this firm does not offer that. This is actually the third party, being the fact that we can catch something outside, should we have to go up to the gravel pit, we don’t leave the site unattended while one of the inspectors and the main testing firm is actually down in the hole.”
Borasky had concerns over language in the agreement that exempts the company engineers from supervising, or having direct control over the contractor’s work or the method of construction selected. Sigma engineers don’t guarantee the performance of any contractor or assume responsibility for the contractors’ failure to perform the work.
“Does that mean they’re not going to stand behind what they do?” Borasky asked.
Fanning said these are only inspections where materials roll into the job.
“They want to observe how the job is actually going, that’s all it actually is,” Fanning said.
District Attorney Brian Kunzi said Sigma engineers aren’t responsible for the backfill.
“They’re really just our eyes and ears. If they give us information, that gives us the capability of going to our engineer: We got this issue, how are we going to address it?”
A change order on the Blagg Road project, which would allow Wulfenstein Construction to use gravel from their own pit rather than the Nye County gravel pit, was approved Monday.
Borasky said he heard from contractors upset that option wasn’t in the bid package. Actually, the pre-bid package clearly spelled out that there would be “no exceptions” to using the county pit. Only after the contract was awarded was that order rescinded, saving the winning bidder thousands of dollars.
“Maybe somebody can explain why they were allowed to change locations of the gravel,” he asked.
“The contractor was awarded the contract, that’s when this change came about. I brought it to the agenda and made it transparent,” Fanning told the commission.
County officials didn’t discuss what Wulfenstein Construction was able to save by using their own gravel pit, but Fanning said the county could save $25,000 not having to maintain and water the gravel stockpile for the next two months.
Fanning said the Nye County gravel pit was identified as a source for the backfill in the bid specifications to get the project out to bid.
The length of the contract for the Blagg Road project was also extended one month, from June 30 to July 30 with the change order.
Drivers who have been tearing out their hair waiting for the pilot car to lead them through construction areas on Highway 160, may have to be patient quite a while. Michelle Booth, Nevada Department of Transportation public information officer, said Aggregate Construction won’t complete the repaving work on Highway 160 and 372 until the end of September.
The latest report delivered to NDOT Wednesday said lane restrictions on Highway 160 from 1.3 miles north of the Clark County line to nine miles north will continue for the next two and a half weeks because of the milling and paving operation. Other parts of Highway 160 and 372 will be affected after that work is completed.
Work hours are primarily from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. this week, but will switch to a 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule, Monday through Thursday of next week. No lane restrictions are planned on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.