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County hears about bus barn, road project
April 03, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
Scotts Bluff County’s new Handy Bus barn on Rundell Road may not be completed until about April 8, but federal funding won’t be jeopardized because of the delay.

The federal funding, through the original Stimulus Bill, has a March 28 deadline for the project to be “substantially completed.” The project also didn’t allow for weather delays.

Megan Hayward with the architectural firm Hewgley and Associates said she did further research and found there was no danger of losing the funding.

During their Monday meeting, county commissioners took up the issue whether to waive any liquidated damages for the contractor over the delay. Contractor Paul Reed said his crews couldn’t work about 10 days of the project because of bad weather.

Commissioner Mike Marker said other contractors didn’t bid the project because there was no weather delays allowed. However, they may have submitted a bid if they knew any damages would be waived.

“My vote would be not to waive damages, just to be fair to others who bid on the project,” Marker said.

Hayward pointed out that under state law, liquidated damages can only be imposed if the county can show they were damaged by the delay. Commissioners agreed the delay didn’t cause damage to the county, so they voted to waive any penalties for late completion.

“Liquidated damages were part of the original contract and wasn’t stipulated by federal funding,” Hayward said. “We included potential damages when we thought we could lose the funding because of late completion. But that wasn’t the case.”

During staff reports, commissioners heard from County Roads Superintendent Bob Bennett about the possibility of repaving a large section of Sugar Factory Road. But that could cost about $175,000 per mile to repave the five miles from 27th Street to Lake Minatare Road.

Bennett told commissioners the county receives about $130,000 a year in state road funds that could be used to start the project, but there were no guarantees those funds would continue in the future.

“With the price of asphalt going up, the project could run in the million dollar range,” Bennett said. “I’d like to get the project done in 2015.”

Commissioner Mike Marker said he’s received numerous complaints from constituents about the road’s crumbling condition. Sugar Factory Road is highly trafficked by both residents heading out to Lake Minatare and area farmers bringing crops to town during harvest season.

Marker called the road “quite dangerous” and said he would be willing to issue bonds to get the project done.

“I’m pleased the board wants me to get something done about this,” Bennett said. “But I have so many roads just like it, it’s hard to pick just one.”

Bennett added it’s been a hard year on asphalt roads with continual freezing and thawing that causes stress on the pavement.
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