Front Street past halfway

POULSBO — The Front Street construction project has cleared the halfway point and city engineers say drivers will soon begin seeing payoffs for three months of delays.

The $1.5 million project aimed at restoring about 500 feet of the roadway began April 28. The first phase, which focused on sewer lines and other infrastructure, ended recently. The second phase has started and will focus on replacing the road and widening it to accommodate left turn lanes near major driveways. Project engineer Andrzej Kasiniak said he expects the entire project to be completed by Sept. 1.

Along the way the project, funded through the Public Works Trust Fund, has hit a few snags. Most recently crews from Buno Construction discovered that a 200-foot piece of clay pipe near the Sons of Norway Hall was causing the roadway in that area to sink. Kasiniak said replacing the aging pipe with PVC, similar to the rest of the 8-inch line that has been installed, caused about a week delay and an extra $30,000 cost to the project.

In projects where you’re replacing existing roadway, Kasiniak said, unexpected expenses are normal.

“It’s typical for industry to figure on 10 percent overruns,” he explained. “I would hope that this project would have less than that.”

Missing its 90-day deadline for completion of the project is one overrun Buno hopes to avoid, though.

After extensions are figured in, the company will be fined a certain amount for each day thereafter, dependent on a formula in the contract, said City Engineer John Stephenson, who estimated that fines would be in the neighborhood of $500 per day. The contract is now at about 50 days and counting.

Drivers who have endured delays at the construction site will begin seeing more dramatic changes soon because this project phase focuses on the road surface, said Stephenson. Even during the earlier phase though, complaints about the project were few and far between, he added, crediting an ongoing public information campaign for helping ease the tensions of frustrated motorists.

“That roadway was literally falling apart before, so people understand why we’re doing what we’re doing and with our information they can adjust,” Stephenson said. “And I think a lot of people have just elected on their own to go around.”

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