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Steamboat Springs City officials reached an agreement Tuesday that will result in downtown paving work not resuming until after Labor Day at no additional cost to Steamboat Springs. As part of the deal, the project’s completion deadline will be pushed back to Nov. 18.
Scott Contracting and the Colorado Department of Transportation supported the deal with Steamboat Springs City Council, which voted, 6-0, to request no work be conducted from Sept. 1 to 3, the days leading up to Labor Day weekend, in exchange for moving the project’s completion date from Nov. 12 to Nov. 18. Councilman Scott Myller was absent Tuesday.
Several high-level representatives of Scott Contracting and CDOT attended the meeting at Centennial Hall, which also was attended by state Sen. Al White, R-Hayden.
The $5.6 million downtown paving and improvement project is scheduled to close access to 13th Street today while opening intersections on Lincoln Avenue’s north side at 10th, Ninth and Eighth streets, CDOT project engineer Justin Kuhn said.
City Council President Cari Hermacinski said adding six work days in November, in exchange for subtracting three in September, makes sense because of shorter days and the chance of snow in late fall.
“We see that as an acceptable alternative,” Barton Puryear, Scott Contracting operations manager, said about the agreement.
“CDOT is also agreeable to adding days on the end,” added CDOT engineer Dave Schneider.
White said the deal, intended to help downtown businesses capitalize on the final big weekend of summer tourism, “makes a lot of sense from a commercial standpoint, and I would certainly urge CDOT and the contractor to consider that.”
City Public Works Director Philo Shelton left the door open to some tweaks to the agreement, such as crews possibly conducting some set-up work that wouldn’t affect traffic in the first days of September, before resuming full-scale work after Labor Day.
Shelton said he is working on a $1 per month lease agreement to use the empty lot at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue, on Lincoln’s south side, for public parking this summer and a staging area for crews in the fall.
Scott Contracting would face daily fines if the work is not completed by Nov. 18 under the new agreement. Those fines would start at $3,400 a day, CDOT regional program engineer Dave Eller said, and also would include traffic control costs that could double the daily fine amount.
Former contractor Tony Connell said betting on November construction is a tough gamble.
“To say that you’re going to do work in November is really dicey,” Connell said. “In some years, we had work scheduled, and it started snowing on Nov. 1. … That’s going to be a risky time.”
Cody Patterson, Scott’s site supervisor, said Tuesday he has “no reason to believe” the job won’t get done by the fall deadline.
Councilman Kenny Reisman shared Connell’s doubts about fall weather, though, saying “it’s foolhardy to think those days will be of use.” Reisman suggested that if CDOT has funds for extra fall days they could be used for overtime now, while crews are working and the weather likely is better.
Eller and Schneider said the added November expenditure might not be necessary at all.
“It’s a waste of money to pay them overtime now if they’re going to meet the contract anyway,” Schneider said.
Eller noted that taking chances on the weather is the result of conducting no work during July and August, which has long been the No. 1 goal stated by the city, downtown businesses and Mainstreet Steamboat Springs.
“No one talked about starting Aug. 15,” Eller said.
Also Tuesday, City Council:
■ Postponed indefinitely a proposal to build executive hangars at Steamboat Springs Airport because Dallas-based MSF Development withdrew its application
■ Unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that would approve agreements related to land needed for construction of Gossard Parkway
■ Approved, 5-0, the preliminary plat for consolidation of two Old Town lots related to a potential future expansion of Lowell Whiteman Primary School, with Hermacinski stepping down from the discussion and vote.
— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail email@example.com