The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 3, 2013

Flaws on redone west Mankato streets won't lead to more fines

By Mark Fischenich
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — A contractor fined $50,000 because of its tardy start on the reconstruction of Carney Avenue isn’t likely to face additional sanctions after flaws surfaced in the $2.1 million project.

Orange cones warn drivers of some deep depressions near the gutter in several places on Carney, and asphalt near the Gwyn Avenue intersection is crumbling. But Mankato City Engineer Jeff Johnson said those flaws aren’t serious and will be corrected by Civil Ag Group, the contractor, before the final layer of asphalt is applied.

“It’ll all be squared away, and we should be putting a final lift of asphalt on in June,” Johnson said.

The geology under Carney, on Mankato’s west side, contains large rocks, he said, and voids between the rocks likely resulted in some settling that created the depressions. The city often delays application of the final road surface until the following spring so that there’s time for those sorts of settling issues to pop up and be addressed first.

The problem at Gwyn, just before Carney becomes Highway 66 heading south of town, appeared almost immediately after the initial layer of asphalt was laid late last fall. That problem couldn’t be fixed before winter because asphalt plants had shut down for the season, Johnson said.

 Repairs will come soon after the plants reopen this spring, and Civil Ag Group will be responsible for the costs of all the required fixes.

The St. James-based company, which uses the motto Rock Solid Reliability, was assessed penalties of $50,000 last year when it finished the major part of the project 25 days after the Oct. 5 deadline. City officials were perturbed by the delay because Civil Ag didn’t begin work on the project until July 16 — nearly two months after it signed a contract to do the job.

Ultimately, the quality of the work appears to be satisfactory, Johnson said. And the city is holding back not just the final payment for the remaining work but double the amount to help ensure the repairs are made and the final asphalt layer is applied in a timely manner.

While users of the road have expressed concern about the flaws in the road, Johnson is confident they will be satisfied with the final result.

“They will be when we’ve finished up,” he said.