WSN engineer Aric Welch counters with $7,919
By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
On Oct. 11, George Mastey, owner of MTD Excavation of Gilman, told the Motley City Council that any work overages charged to the city were the fault of the engineering company and not the fault of any contractor.
Mastey, whose company has been doing the dirt work for the $853,108 2011 street and utility improvement project, said hold-ups and errors were due to Widseth Smith Nolting (WSN) engineer’s inability to get things done in a timely manner.
Mastey claimed WSN has cost his company thousands of dollars with delays.
Since MTD Excavation was hired by Kuechle Underground Inc. of Kimball, and not the city, it needed to go through Kuechle to request the additional $77,875.62 for work Mastey said he needed to be compensated for.
Brandon Kuechle, the project manager from Kuechle Underground Inc., sent a change order to WSN which was reviewed by city engineer Aric Welch. The changes followed by Welch’s response, are as follows:
• Kuechle asked for $6,922.13 for hauling additional material to Fourth Avenue because of a change in the plan for the elevation of the roadway. Because of that, MTD had to regrade 800 feet of street which took them 7.75 hours plus 260 yards of fill.
Welch said that MTD hauled material from the north end of Fourth Avenue instead of from the nearby ditch. He said Kuechle should be compensated for the bid price of $5.72 per cubic yard for 275 cubic yards of material, a total of $1,573.
• Kuechle said curb stakes were requested but not installed on the north end of Fourth Avenue until MTD had begun work on another street. MTD had to return to Fourth Avenue and remove additional dirt to accommodate curb placement and then regrade the street. It took the crew 5.25 hours. Kuechle is asking for an additional $4,134.38.
Welch said subgrade staking was completed before MTD began work on another road and was adequate to provide the contractor with the direction necessary to grade the road. He said the curb staking was not necessary to complete the work and has denied the claim;
• Kuechle said the Birch Street subgrade was completed according to plan, but due to redesign, 250 additional feet of the road had to be regraded. With an additional 350 yards of fill being hauled in, plus the cost of the fill and the time it took for the extra work, Kuechle is asking for an additional $7,205.63.
Welch said that when MTD thought there was a staking error, WSN reviewed the property and a revised plan was issued. There was a three-inch adjustment and the roadway alignment did not change. Welch estimated an additional 67 cubic yards of fill, at a cost of $383.24, be added to the change order.
• Kuechle said that 1,000 yards of additional fill was hauled to Pine Avenue when a redesign required 675 feet of road to be regraded, taking and additional 17 hours. The company is requesting $16,537.50 more.
Welch agreed to extra compensation, but only $2,316.60 that would cover the cost of 405 cubic yards of fill. He said the grade was raised to better match the adjacent properties and to reduce conflicts with existing underground utilities. He said, while he did not know where MTD got his fill, there was sufficient fill available in the adjacent ditches.
• Kuechle said that due to a redesign, Cedar Street needed an 475 feet of street regraded, taking the MTD crew 11.5 hours.
Welch, denying the claim, said the street was raised to accommodate changes in its profile and the revised plan was issued well before the roadway was ready to be graded.
• Kuechle asked for an additional $5,512.50 since Eledredge Avenue had to be redesigned when Pine Avenue was changed. He said the subgrade on Eledredge was completed prior to Pine Avenue and the MTD crew added seven hours to their time.
Welch countered that the contractor failed to grade the road properly. He said he had told MTD workers that following the staking was not as critical as matching the profile of the road to the existing driveways and sidewalks in the rural roadway section. He gave the same instructions about Cedar Street east of Cleveland Avenue. Welch said he stressed MTD needed to make the finished grade of the roadway match the finished grade of the driveways.
Welch denied the claim, saying the subgrade was too high and that the contractor did not take into account the driveways needed to be excavated six inches to allow for four inches of class five and two inches of bituminous.
• Kuechle asked for an additional $26,445.04, saying that during the subgrade excavation process, the driveway limitations were never staked until after the curb was in, even though MTD asked for those stakes on several occasions. It made it difficult to return, after the curb was in, and remove dirt without damaging the curb and concrete aprons.
Welch denied that claim, saying the driveway removal locations were shown in the plan and the specifications didn’t state that the engineer would mark the limits of removals. He said it is the contractor’s responsibility to coordinate the timing of this work.
• Kuechle is also asking for an additional $1,035 for raising four existing gate valves, $962.19 for the removal of two pine trees on Fourth Avenue and $65 to remove a tree at the intersection of Cedar Street and Pine Avenue. These items were not on the original plans and Welch agreed the claims should be incorporated into the change order.
The total dollar amount for claims Welch is willing to add to the change order comes to $7,919.
Terri Smith, clerk/treasurer in the city of Motley, said that according to the contract with Kuechle, if the company does not agree with the recommendations made by Welch, the parties involved may go into mediation.
“Kuechle has already told WSN they do not agree with the findings, and wants a meeting with the city,” she said.