Letter to the Editor

Not in support of decision

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Editor's Note: The following letter was sent by the writer to the Clay County Commissioners regarding construction of Bridge 245.

To the Editor:

The purpose of this letter is to voice a complaint regarding the actions of the Commissioners in the construction of Bridge 245 in Clay County. The reasons for the complaint are 1. The County is not getting what it is paying for, or, stated otherwise, the contractor is getting paid for work that he is not doing, and 2. By not requiring that the contractor follow the specifications for the project, the Commissioners are setting a dangerous precedent that will discourage competitive bidding in the future. This is being done by favoritism being shown to the contractor who was awarded the contract through not requiring that he do all of the work that was bid yet not reducing the contract amount by the cost of the work that the contractor is not required to do.

My familiarity with the project is based upon the following. I have been in the construction business for several years and have built at least one bridge for the county. I bid on the reconstruction of Bridge 245 but did not get the award. At this point, I am not interested in the project or any other projects, because I have ceased doing business and am retiring. My interest in this is as a taxpayer only, not as a person who wants to do business with Clay County.

Bridge 245 is located in southern Clay County and it spans a drainage ditch. It is approximately five miles southwest of Clay City on County Road 400.

The drainage ditch crosses under CR 400 at an approximate angle of 45-degrees. The old bents (supports) for the bridge were at right angles to CR 400. That is, they went straight across and beneath the road in order to support the two ends of the old bridge. With the stream coming under the bridge at 45-degrees, this has caused considerable washout around the bents. The redesign of the bridge provided that the old bents would be removed, that new bents would be installed at 45-degrees to the bridge (so as to be in line with the flow of the stream) and that the bents would be 50-feet apart (instead of the old 30-feet) in order to create a wider channel. All of this would eliminate or reduce washing out around the bents The specifications required "remove existing concrete bridge structure including the end bents and wing walls."

On March 30, 2009, the Commissioners entered into a contract with Allender Trucking to do the bridgework. I am told that although it was not approved by the County Road Commissioner, the County Commissioner for the district in which the bridge is located agreed with the contractor for the contractor to leave the old concrete bents and wing walls in place. I am also told that that district Commissioner is allowing the contractor to place the new bents at approximately 30-degrees to CR 400 instead of 45-degrees. The effects of these things are 1. To not widen the channel under the bridge, 2. To not get what is being paid for (the cost of removal of the existing bents and wing walls and construction of new bents at 45-degrees to CR 400 instead of 30-degrees, 3. To reduce the amount of material, labor, and machine cost required to build the new bents, because they would be longer if built at 45-degrees rather than 30-degrees, 4. To not accomplish the reduction of erosion originally planned, and 5. To show favoritism to this contractor over the other bidding contractors (who included these items of work in their bids).

As a taxpayer, I request that the Commissioners immediately review the work being done on this project, require that it be built in accordance with the specifications, or reduce the contract amount by the value of the work not being done, and not permit in the future any modifications to projects after they have been bid.

Thank you for your consideration.

Bill Sanders,