Paving Contractor is in Default in Kittanning

Pavers worked diligently to lay down the base asphalt on the McKean Street Municipal Parking Lot yesterday.

A paving contractor will be served a letter stipulating it is in default of its contract with Kittanning Borough.

R&B Contracting from West Mifflin, PA was contracted to install inlets and ADA ramps in addition to paving Mulberry from South Water Street to South Jefferson Street, the Municipal Parking Lot behind Nextier Bank, and the Templeton Way and Jefferson Way allies from Arch to Vine Streets. The inlets and ADA ramps were installed, but paving had not been completed.

Last month, Kittanning Borough Council gave authorization to Solicitor Ty Heller to put R&B’s bonding company on notice that the company failed to meet its contractual deadline of October 23, 2017. Damages under the contract would be assessed at $150 per day beginning October 24.

Senate Engineer Bill Braun told Council that he received notice from R&B that they were planning to begin the milling process last Sunday and hoped paving would be completed this week.

“They did mill the parking lot behind Nextier and Mulberry Street, and they installed binder (base asphalt),” Braun said. However, the inspector on the job pointed out that R&B did not follow the specifications outlined by Senate for Mulberry Street.

“I think what they did with the binder is acceptable to get us through the winter time in case they don’t come back (to finish the project). In the parking lot, they used a roller that was only three-ton instead of the PennDOT specified ten-ton roller. So the material was probably not compacted a sufficient amount.”

Braun said he could not confirm, but was told that R&B went bankrupt and was having trouble procuring material to do the project.

Councilman David Croyle was vocal about moving forward with a default notice and to take whatever actions are necessary to protect the interest of the Borough.

“We have an issue here where the contractor is rushing to get something done to avoid charges or our actions, but they are not providing the way it is supposed to be done, nor are they doing it correctly. This company is not performing. According to our solicitor, the bond could be pulled. Since we only have this grant until next June, we cannot wait until May to act and find another contractor. We need to take aggressive action here and not have what happened to us with Jacob Street.”

Braun said that although the base asphalt was not installed correctly, Council could choose to accept it. Croyle disagreed.

“I’m have difficulty with spec-ing something out, then we play with the spec to accommodate a contractor that can’t do it right. This is frustrating to me that we are backward engineering something because the contractor can’t get it right.”

Croyle made the motion for Solicitor Ty Heller and Braun to create the paperwork to serve to R&B as well as the bond company a notice of default, preparing the way for future litigation or remedies as necessary. It was unanimously approved.

Armstrong County Planning and Development Project Manager Sally Conklin told Council that the grant funds for the project must be spent by June 30, 2018 or Kittanning Borough could lose the money for the project.

R&B Contracting removed the old asphalt from Mulberry Street yesterday and put down a base asphalt. However, the company did not follow the specifications outlined by Senate Engineering. According to the onsite inspector, the company forgot to bring the mesh material that was to be installed and substituted additional layer of asphalt.