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Poor soil impacts city project

Removal costs New London $319,000

By Scott Bellile

Unsuitable soils at the site of New London’s future city garage were removed and replaced at a cost of $319,093 to the city.

New London Public Works Director Jeff Bodoh told the board of public works and the parks and recreation committee July 5 that crews remediated soil problems at the site of the garage, located west of the wastewater treatment plant on West Wolf River Avenue.

According to the contract change order with construction firm Keller, it cost a little over $123,000 to remove the bad soil. It cost $161,114 to place slurry to replace that soil. The third highest expense was “Keller supervision, coordination and administration of bad soils,” at $29,000.

The city budgeted for a contingency just under $400,000 in anticipation of construction problems. Bodoh told the Press Star in March he predicted issues would occur because the site’s foundation, primarily composed of clay and wetland soil, was unstable.

Kelly Claflin, construction project manager for Keller, told the board the land was once used as a dump site. Construction crews recently unearthed uncontrolled fill. Uncontrolled fill is filler material that’s often undocumented and not up to industry standards.

Claflin said the good news is the city remains below its budgeted contingency, and the project is on schedule for an October completion.

“I think I gave you a budget before we started about maybe three years ago, and it was like $3.8 [million],” Claflin said. “And we’re about $3.34 [million] right now. So we’re still good even with all the bad soil things behind us.

“In going forward there shouldn’t be any big surprises,” Claflin said.

Close to 20 companies are involved in parts of the construction project. Because bids came in lower than anticipated, an additional $72,300 in additions beyond the $319,093 in soil remediation were added to the contract change order.

The biggest ones include $56,221 to add 14 parking spaces to the Riverside Park parking lot across the street, and $7,601 to put a roof over a cold storage space outside the garage that was originally going to be uncovered.

The board of public works and the parks and recreation committee authorized the city to pay the total of $391,402 for the work. Final approval by the city council was scheduled for Tuesday, July 12, after press time.

Bodoh provided updates on the project in memos. He stated the concrete foundation is complete. Work is underway on the steel framework, the interior masonry, the plumbing and the electrical work. Work will begin on the steel roof and siding, and the concrete flooring will be poured.

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