Crews from Union City Paving were working near Church and College streets early Wednesday morning, the day after the mayor and public works committee voiced their concerns to a company executive. (Echo Day/The Leader)

Covington’s public works committee made it very clear they’re unhappy with the job Union City Paving is doing.

In a meeting Tuesday afternoon they addressed complaints they’ve received about the intersection of Sherrod and College streets – where Sherrod had been milled after College was paved and left that way for weeks – and problems with the paving in the Links subdivision.

Steven Hight, the project manager with the paving company, said they were working to resolve the issues.

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He said the plan for Wednesday was to finish College Street, near Sherrod, and corrective measures in the Indian Wells-Torrey Pines area of the Links.

“We know we’ve got some issues over there. It’s just what’s the method that’s gonna correct that’s hopefully gonna solve what we’re trying to solve over there. From what I hear it’s the bumps going in the driveways over there.”

Hight discussed the methods through which his company planned to correct the transition into the driveway and mayor Justin Hanson questioned how the issues were created.

He told the committee the company’s owner, who usually oversees projects, had been in an accident and hadn’t been around to

ensure projects were being completed as they should be.

“We didn’t have someone out there keeping an eye on it and they just paved it thick,” Hight said. “I’ve worked at other big, large paving companies and those things happen. It’s unfortunate that it happened in the subdivision but sometimes you pave too thin and sometimes you pave too thick. It just occurs.”

While Hanson seemed to have little patience for the issues with the city’s largest paving project to date – to the tune of $1.2 million – it was alderman Jeff Morris who was the most animated and passionate about his concerns.

Morris lives in the Links and was angry about what the crew left behind.

“And you left the biggest mess you’d ever seen there. And our neighbors got out and cleaned it up because your guys left that out there and I hope they didn’t do it on the rest of the city because it looked like you-know-what and I’m very upset about it and so are my neighbors! And I have to hear about it from my neighbors and you need to hear about it ‘cause it’s crap!”

The frustrating part, Hanson said, is the elected officials, not the paving company, are the ones receiving the calls about the work.

In addition to the other issues, Hanson said Garland said partially paved for three weeks. Alderman Danny Wallace said the roads are holding water in some areas as well.

“I mean, you guys have been in town for two months now,” Hanson said, “and we understand weather, we’re fully understanding of the weather situation, but the frustrating part … is the piecemealing, the piecemealing that has happened,” Hanson said. “A [$1.2 million] paving project I would consider fairly significant.”

Hight said the company was appreciative of the work and they wanted to make it right.

“It hasn’t ran as smoothly, obviously, as we would have liked it to.”

He said a milling company came in and “jumped in the middle of all of the roadways” and there were issues with getting supplies as well.

“You will make it right or you won’t get paid,” Hanson said. “It’s that simple.”

Hight discussed the plan to remedy the problems, which should be completed by late November or early December.

Additionally, Wallace asked that the company write letters to the residents in the Links acknowledging the “sloppiness” in which the subdivision was left after crews worked there.

“I had bottles that I found in my backyard that they had just thrown and left,” Morris added. “They had all of the stuff parked right there behind our homes and just left the trash for us to take care of. For me that’s unacceptable.”

The paving project, which was funded by two USDA grants, was originally set to begin in late June so it could be finished before school began. Frank Climer and Sons, the original company awarded the bid, pulled out right before the project could begin due to time constraints with a previously-awarded contract.

The city is required by law to request bids for paving projects and choose the lowest bidder unless there is a legitimate reason not to. Union City Paving was the company with the lowest bid and the city had no prior experience with the company.

Milling began on South College Street, front of Covington High School, on the first day of school in early August.

Echo Day
Author: Echo Day

Echo Day is an award-winning journalist, photographer and designer. She is currently The Leader's managing editor.

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