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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2014 County Road Project Still not Complete

10-9:  Washington County promised the Manning ave project would be done in "fall of 2014" two years ago... it's still not finished... This is the traffic back up at the intersection of Dellwood and Manning in Stillwater that has weekday commuters still waiting. (photo taken 10-2015)

5-2: The County doesn't apologize, but apparently they mistakenly told us 22 accidents and counting occurred in the County Road 15 rehab project that was originally posted to be completed by October 2014. So this is a correction to the story posted below on 4-28 (separated by dashes).

5-13: Stillwater City Council Member Tom Weidner was able to assist in getting Commissioner Kriesel to explain why CR15 project is now over 7 months past the predicted completion date. The excuse: "the delay was asphalt plants shut down last year due to cold weather "... okay, so why are we over a month into the season and still no asphalt, roundabout, trail, etc?

Side note: "spring weight limits" were only in place from March 11th to April 22nd and that was only for "mid-range over weight permits" according to MNDOT. The contractor for this pavement project is Hard Drives INC, One of the Metro's largest pavement contractors. Even if they fell under the weight limit restrictions (AFTER April 22nd) they'd still be able to drive over 50,000lbs since they have a fleet of trucks that comply with these seasonal weight limits (also according to MNDOT). Stillwater states: "The City of Stillwater follows MN/DOT seasonal load limit dates.  City of Stillwater roads are 10 tons per axel unless otherwise posted.

5-15 the pavement is finally down on the shoulder:

5:18 Confirmed that MNDOT started paving in Stillwater nearly 4 weeks before the CR15 project here got it's shoulder finally paved... oh and check out her comment about weight limits:

Washington County Public Works Pavement and Road rehabilitation is rarely in question on Washington County Watchdog. Specifically Cory Slagle, the engineering and construction manager, has been reported to be doing a great job by myself: Thank you Cory Slagle

However, on April 20th I sent an e-mail to the project manager of the Manning avenue rehabilitation project in Stillwater Mr Nik Costello asking the following questions. He passed the question on to his manager Cory Slagle and his responses are in red

1.) Is the budget for this project still $3.5 million with $550,000 in property acquisition?
   The project budget has not changed.

2.) I notice in the flyer that the project was supposed to be finished in the "Fall of 2014" and of course I don't need to explain to you that the north bound shoulder is not finished, the walking path is in what appears the initial phase, the roundabout hasn't started yet, and they're just putting in the lights on 80th street. Can you explain what the delays are about and if the contractors for the project are involved with the delays.
The early snow and cold weather last fall shut the project down.

3.) With the apparent delays is the contractor going to absorb the added costs or even be subject to reduced compensation for not even coming close to meeting the deadline?
Project costs are not finalized.  We’re working with the contractor on a revised completion schedule.

I was disappointed in the lack of concern since the project was supposed to be done over six months ago! I responded:

responding to me Mr. Slagle; attached at the very bottom of this e-mail is the response of the County Sheriff's office stating there have been 22 accidents in this construction zone that is now at least 6 months late. I travel this road several times a day and MANY a week day I see absolutely no work being done (ie: just yesterday I only saw one guy wiring the street lights). 

I find it extremely disappointing that dozens of people are getting hurt as a result of a delayed routine project. Weather explains why a project would be days late... not months and months. We had a mild winter and early spring. 

Please respond that the Washington Public Works Department is going to hold the Contractor financially responsible for this. I'm refraining from posting about this as I hope the County is going to do something more than provide excuses. Frankly, it's about time tax payers and contractors see that terms of contracts and bids actually mean something. 

If you live on this section of road and are concerned about the clear safety risks please e-mail Cory Slagle at and our County Commissioner in this area of Stillwater: This is important as no one I've contacted at the county appears to take this matter seriously yet.

-Matt Behning
Editor at Washington County Watchdog