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Caution: Crews working (on wrong street)

By Jeff Moore

The city of Portage had an asphalt paving project challenge recently.

Had anyone in the road crew been a touch more observant, the problem could have been easily avoided.

Herein lies a lesson for all you pavers:

The contractor, which was awarded an approximately $176,000 asphalt paving project, milled part of a wrong road in Portage. The crew realized the error after three-quarters of the road was milled. Now it could cost the contractor and city about $23,000.

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The paving faux pas happened in the morning as the contractor’s crew was scheduled to begin milling work on Parkview Court. The onsite contractor said he confused the street that was scheduled for work with one that needed no work. Parkview Court and Ridgeview Court look similar, as these courts often do in almost any community. Both courts are located off Cemetery Road, terminate with a cul-de-sac and are of similar length.

These are the only two courts off of this section of Cemetery Road and are about 400 feet apart in a straight section of Cemetery Road.

Having been lost in areas like this myself numerous times, I’ve found things like street signs are good indicators as to where one is, most especially when driving around the monotonous, blasted landscape of cloned, cookie-cutter roadways.

If my destination is Eagle’s Watch Court, I likely will not turn down a similar looking court assuming I am on the right roadway then expect to show up at my destination through magic or some kind of fortuitous wormhole connecting where I am to where I want to be.

Also, there were no parked cars on Ridgeview Court the morning of the bungle, so it appeared that the cars had been moved off the street so construction work could begin, despite the lack of “Temporarily No Parking” signage which usually accompanies projects like this. At one property, the contractor said, there was one residence that had a driveway with three cars stacked in it and another car on the lawn; again, a sight not too uncommon in any city.

“While the work on Parkview Court was needed, the work on Ridgeview Court was not,” Bob Redelings, director of public works and utilities manager, said. He also said the road on Ridgeview had about six or seven years of life left in it and the city may not have paved it for 10 years.

With this in mind, wouldn’t one of the members of the crew have noticed that the road they were about to mill didn’t need to be paved?

The Portage City Council voted to offset the $23,000 cost by $5,000, leaving the contractor on the hook for about $18,000. This decision is not final and only a recommendation as it will need to be approved by the full council after being passed by various other committees.

Infrastructure Oversight Committee member Frank Miller called the action a “show of good faith” as the contractor has done a lot of road work for the city recently.

Jeff Moore is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1819.

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