Contractor: Parkway glitch not our fault

The general contractor that built the $110 million Riverside Parkway refuted suggestions from the city of Grand Junction that defective materials or workmanship is to blame for repairs being made to the road.

Thomas Clark, senior vice president for Centennial-based SEMA Construction, said instead that flaws in the design of the seven-mile bypass are responsible for the cracks that have developed in various sections of the road.

City public works officials announced last week that warranty work on the parkway would be performed over a period of two-and-a-half weeks, starting Monday, marking the second time in the past eight months that such work was required.

The road and sidewalk has cracked and buckled in several places along the parkway bridge over Fifth Street. Workers replaced sections of the road in April, but cracks reappeared.

City Engineering Manager Trent Prall this week attributed the blemishes to the dirt used to construct the embankment underneath the bridge settling several inches. He said SEMA didn’t lift the embankment enough during the first round of repairs and would try to lift it higher this time around.

But in a letter to the editor of The Daily Sentinel, Clark rejected the city’s characterization of the repairs as warranty work and said SEMA was performing the work in order to maintain a good relationship with the city.

“We want to help preserve our relationship with the city of Grand Junction instead of getting into a dispute over what is the cause of this problem,” Clark said in an interview, adding the estimated repair costs of $100,000 amounted to less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the total project cost.

Clark told a Sentinel reporter that SEMA believes the problem lies in the settlement occurring not in the embankment built by the contractor but the Colorado River floodplain deposits underneath the embankment.

He wrote in the letter that SEMA performed its construction work in accordance with all of the plans and specifications provided by the city.

“The city’s design anticipated some settlement in those floodplain deposits and addressed this issue through the use of gravel filled piers, but the actual settlement being encountered in those deposits appears to be exceeding the design anticipations,” Clark’s letter reads. “Since SEMA had no responsibility for the design of this project, the settlement issues are not the fault of SEMA Construction.”


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