CLAYTON — City council received an update on the National Road pedestrian path slated for construction between Hoke Road and the Northmont Middle School/High School campus at its last meeting.
The design drawings are 95 percent complete and those have been submitted to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which has to review the drawings before the city can put the project out to bid.
“We did notice a minor glitch and we received a phone call from Frontier Communications, which is a telephone and cable provider, which failed to mark some underground lines,” said Development Director Rob Anderson. “They claimed they didn’t have anything in the right-of-way or where we are going to be doing the project, and then we got a call this week notifying us that they do have something there and they need to move it.”
Anderson told council if they noticed any flags sticking out of the ground along National Road, that would denote potential Frontier lines.
“We are working with them to identify it and to find out how deep it is,” Anderson said. “There are a couple of utility boxes that will have to be moved back sand out of the way. They think they can get it done within a month or so, but it is going to push our timing of that project a little bit back.”
Another issue that has come up is that, with all of the rain in the area this spring the contractors in the area have become so backed up that the city engineer has stated that he is having trouble getting contractors to bid on projects.
“So that is another wrinkle we will need to think about when we go to bid the project,” Anderson said. “Either we won’t get as many bids as normal, or bids will come in so high that they will only do the project at their price.”
Anderson said the city is prepared to send the project out to bid as soon as all the issues with the underground utilities are taken care of, which should be soon.
“However, the project won’t be totally complete… meaning the landscaping won’t be in or the poles erected until the spring of next year,” he added. “I just wanted to prepare you for that. IF we are able to go to bid like we hope and award this project in the next 30 days, then we will be under construction this year but the project won’t totally be complete until sometime next year.”
Councilman Ken Henning asked what the chances were of the project going to bid within the next 30 days. Anderson felt the chances were pretty good.
“We just have this Frontier issue, which isn’t big,” Anderson said. “The stuff can be moved pretty easily, so it’s nothing that will put us too far out of the timeline but we’d like to make sure we have that buttoned up so that we don’t have a contractor issue where they cut a line and it causes a delay.”
City Manager Rick Rose also pointed out that last year there were also issues with contractors.
“Last year we got into bidding the curb ramps on Main Street which we bid in the fall of 2014, and quite frankly we only had one bid come in,” Rose said. “Since it was 10 percent higher than what was the estimate by the engineer, it had to go out for re-bid in January. There was about a 30 percent difference in the bid submitted by the same company in October on an $80,000 project. With this being a $600,000 project I would really hate to see us pay 30 or 40 percent more just to try to get it done a month or two ahead of time instead of getting a good, competitive bid. That is a real viable issue that we have to look at closely before we put this out to bid.”
Mayor Joyce Deitering asked if that meant the project might not go out to bid in 30 days.
Rose said it would all depend on whether or not the city could obtain competitive bids for the project.