Hay Creek Bridge project projected to be completed 4 months late

Work on the Hay Creek Bridge continues as the project is now two months past the original completion date and contractors anticipate another two months worth of work to attain substantial completion. Pioneer photo by Lacey Peterson

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BELLE FOURCHE –– The replacement of the Hay Creek Bridge on Belle Fourche’s Eighth Avenue is behind schedule and if completed by Oct. 11, the updated target date for substantial completion, it would span four more months than originally anticipated. 

On Oct. 15, 2018, the city, which budgeted $1 million for the project, awarded the $917,672.95 bid to Journey Group Ainsworth-Benning. 

Quentin Geddes, with Ainsworth Benning, the contractor awarded the replacement project, told city officials Wednesday that crews are currently working on bridge footings and hope to pour the concrete for that on Friday.

Although the initial bridge completion date was mid-June, Geddes said he thinks the new completion date is attainable.

Geddes said wet weather and more extensive utility relocations were to blame for the delays.

“I would say in the next couple weeks, we’re going to see a dramatic change with the dirt leaving the site and getting stuff back in and filled,” Geddes said. 

Crews are waiting to hear about testing performed on the dirt intended to be used for backfill.

Chris Robinson, a project engineer with HDR Engineering, Inc., the engineering firm awarded the project, also spoke Wednesday, adding that the dirt on site is suitable for backfill. The issue is with the amount of moisture within the material.

“We’ve got to get the moisture content down so it can be compacted properly so the road doesn’t settle on top of it,” he said, adding that space in the area of construction is limited, making spreading and drying the dirt even more difficult.

“It may be more challenging if it keeps raining,” Robinson said.

Robinson said there are concerns that the east end of the north box culvert was installed approximately two feet too far east. 

“So we’re still looking into see exactly where the box got set in relationship to the wall where it needs to be,” he said. “We’re still putting those pieces together. That may delay concrete pours and we’ll have to figure out some kind of corrective action if something needs to be done there.”

To date, of the $924,908.05 contract amount, $388,443.41 worth has been completed and stored, leaving a $575,308.98 balance after retainage. 

The city engineer’s office, in conjunction with HDR Engineering, Inc., and Ainsworth-Benning, typically meet every Wednesday at 9 a.m. The next scheduled meeting date is Sept. 4. The construction update meetings are open to the public and held in the upstairs conference room at Belle Fourche City Hall, located at 511 Sixth Ave.

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