The big question around Langdon following the heavy snowfall was, “What happens now with the remainder of the City of Langdon infrastructure project?”
By Melissa Anderson
“We talked with the contractor…they are still planning to pave as much as they can this fall yet. If they can get the snow moved, they’ve got a fighting chance to get that done,” Andrew Aakre, Project Manager for Moore Engineering, said.
Spruce Valley has been operating on a six day work week for the majority of the project, meeting the majority of the deadlines set out in the contract. However, the relatively perfect construction season quickly faded into a frustrating one when September came. Over the course of September, the Langdon area received over 6.5 inches of rain. The normal rainfall average for September is just a little over 2 inches.
“There is a lot of moisture out there,” Aakre said.
In reviewing the streets, Aakre shared that while the heavy, wet snow has not helped the project in making headway, it also has not done any significant damage. Specifically, the streets that have already had the recycled aggregate put down are holding up as well as can be expected with the ground as saturated as it is. All of the water and sewer underground are in with the exception of the line coming across the park. There is still some residences on temporary water, however, this is due to the homeowners not being home when the contractor checked.
“We can get everybody off of temporary water. The reason that they are still on is because they weren’t home when the contractor came around,” Aakre explained.
The street that faces the biggest battle in being completed is 5th Street. From 12th Avenue to 14th Avenue, the residential street has not had the recycled aggregate laid and is, to put it mildly, a mess.
“Until they can get through there and cut out some of that muck and get that recycled aggregate on there, it’s really not going to get better. That’s going to take some sunshine and little bit warmer temperatures,” Aakre said.
The week following the unseasonable blizzard has been tough for the construction crew as they work to get the project done. The crews worked to clear the snow and have every intention of laying asphalt before ending work for the season.
“Right now their focus is getting the snow off the streets and trying to get those streets ready for paving should the temperature allow,” Aakre said.
Removing the snow from the work areas poses the same problems to the construction crew as it does to the city crews. With a rapid melt expected, the placement cannot be near the work sites as it would flood the area.
Spruce Valley has had several crews in Langdon over the summer and currently have a crew working on the underground work and other crews spread out through the rest of the areas working to get the project finished. Some of the work being done includes concrete as the long project comes to a close.
Not being able to finish the street with a layer of asphalt is a real concern that has Aakre, the city commission and Spruce Valley creating a fall back plan. Should weather continue to be inhospitable to paving, the street will have to go through the winter with just an aggregate surface.
“At that point, if we have a couple of blocks that are aggregate and not paved then we are going to have some contractor maintenance throughout the winter,” Aakre said.
Before it gets to that point however, the construction crew will get as far as possible. If they cannot then an amendment to the contract would need to be put in place where a contingency plan is put in place.
“As much as a I want all the streets paved, we are not recommending that it’s paved just to say you paved it if the conditions don’t allow it, cause that’s just a waste of time and money,” Aakre said.
For now, the project will move ahead a week at a time with plans to pave assuming that conditions allow. If the crews can get everything ready, there is a window of potential paving weather within the next few weeks.
“We are hoping for warm temperatures, a good melt, a nice breeze, but hope is not a plan,” Langdon City Commission Chair Jerry Nowatzki said.
If pavement doesn’t happen before winter truly sets in with the fall back plan of wintering the roads with aggregate, the city and contractor will have to create a winter caretaking plan.