West Newton council weighs options for dealing with contractor
By Stacey Federoff
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
West Newton has been receiving three to four complaints per day about dust caused by a trench along North Water Street.
At their meeting Monday, West Newton council members put a contingency on a payment to the contracting company responsible for leaving the trench unpaved for three weeks.
Engineer Timothy Brett said Bella Enterprises Inc. of Cecil, Washington County, should have used patching material to temporarily cover the 4-foot gravel trench opened in early October, which runs lengthwise from Cross to Poplar streets in the middle of North Water Street for about 500 feet.
“It's completely unacceptable” for it to have remained unrepaired for so long, he said.
The contractor was awarded part of a $2 million sewage project last September.
Council considered a partial payment Monday of $86,055 to the Cecil company as part of the $648,400 contract to replace sewage lines beneath Wilson Lane from Riverside Drive to North First Street and under Hickory Alley from the Youghiogheny River to South Fifth Street.
About six homes on either side of the street where the trench is located have been affected by dust from cars driving over the gravel, Brett said.
Drivers along North Water Street have had difficulty passing through the trench.
Councilman Adam Paterline said the contractor might be trying to save money by waiting to completely pave rather than patch over the trench, but it has been much to the disadvantage of residents.
“We don't want to kick the can down the road another month,” he said.
A formal letter was sent to the contractor last week. Brett also sent an email and borough Secretary Pam Humenik called the president of the company Monday.
“I made it very clear to her that I wanted reassurance,” Humenik said. “We're a small community, but we're still under contract for their work.”
The contractor cited problems with the weather and scheduling for other paving projects as reasons for the delays, Humenik said.
Council approved the payment contingent upon completion of either temporary patching or base-layer paving by Friday.
Temperatures must remain above 35 degrees for base-layer paving and 40 degrees for top-layer paving, Brett said.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 724-836-6660.
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