Contractor addresses WL board on lift station delays

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Northside Regional Lift station will provide sewer lines to an area north of Kalberer Road in Tippecanoe County. An area not yet developed, but it will be the newest area of the Purdue Research Park.

The lift station was supposed to be done in November, but work is still going.

Earlier this year West Lafayette Board of Works Member Sana Booker invited a representative from the contractor R.L. Turner to explain to the board why the project is eight months behind schedule.

“We felt as a contractor, who is being paid by city dollars, they are obligated to keep us informed about what these delays are,” Mayor John Dennis said. “We feel like they horribly missed the ball on that one.”

On Tuesday, R.L. Turner President Greg Turner addressed the board. He said in 2013 crews got off to a late start by trying to wait out the winter weather. Then 2014’s winter delayed work even more after the project was already behind schedule.

Booker would not speak on camera, but on the record she said Turner’s answers were not good enough for her. Turner told the board the project will be done at the end of July.

“Well, let’s put it this way. They have made that guarantee,” Dennis said. “If they fail to meet that deadline, they will definitely have to answer to the Board of Works again.”

Like any contract, the city retains 10 percent of each payment, so there is money to cover unexpected items at the end of a project. City Engineer Dave Buck said even as more charges come with the delays the retainage will not go up.

“We’re covered with the amount of retainage we have in inspection time and any remaining items that are not yet complete,” Buck said.

Buck said the contract also outlines liquidated damages if the contractor gets behind schedule. He said R.L. Turner has been getting charged $1,500 a day since November for every day the project is behind schedule.

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