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Monte council has critical questions for Main Street contractor

MONTESANO — As construction on Main Street in Montesano comes to a close, City Council members have critical questions over the way the contractor handled themselves and one even suggested ensuring that the city not use the contractor’s services again.

Contractor South Bay Excavating just has a few “working days” left on their contract to finish up the road replacement, which included digging up a chunk of Main Street, installing bulb outs, new sidewalks and concrete crosswalks.

South Bay Excavating out of Olympia had the lowest bid on the project with $959,003, beating out Rognlins of Aberdeen with $1.33 million and NOVA had $1.137 million. The state is providing $1.2 million for the work.

“I don’t think anybody’s been happy on how the project is going,” Councilman Doug Streeter said during the Oct. 8 council meeting. “That’s the bad part with lowest and best bid. Now, that we’ve been through this, we know of a contractor to exclude based on prior performance. I won’t be on council then but I will throw that out there that it’s been disappointing to say the least.”

Councilwoman Pam McElliott and Councilman Ken Walkington said they were disappointed with the bumps that cars feel as they move from an old section of the roadway to the new one.

“Is the bump always going to be there where the original phase one sits and then it dips down?” McElliott asked.

Engineer Steve Schmitz, a contractor with Parametrix, said he also was concerned with all of the transitions between the old and new roads and would compare what was designed to what was built in the end.

Councilman Pat Herrington questioned why the contractor didn’t work on days when the weather was sunny or only had a skeleton crew at times.

“It seems crazy because I’m not a construction guy, but it seems to me they should’ve been pouring cement by now,” Herrington said during the Oct. 8 council meeting. “They’re not. I’m wondering why. They block off the whole intersection down there and I’m thinking, ‘There’s only one or two guys that can do the cement work?’”

Schmitz said he’s been frustrated, as well.

Herrington also said it didn’t make sense to him that the contractor had ordered a couple of poles for the pedestrian stop lights and they won’t show up for a few weeks.

“This contractor has known he’ll have this contract for how many weeks now?” Herrington said. “Quite a few. Long before he actually started doing all of this work. I’m thinking backwards here, if I knew I had contract and the scope was and they’ve got to wait to order the poles and the button? Knowing they had the contract why didn’t they order the stuff to begin with? I’m thinking this contractor should have gotten more on the ball.”