City discusses bridge work
by Laura Camper
Oct 10, 2013 | 1121 views |  0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A jump in the city’s expected contribution for a bridge project in Heflin had the city council members second-guessing the contract with the Alabama Department of Transportation at a meeting this week.

The Heflin City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a contract for work on Bells Mill bridge, but only with the understanding that Mayor Rudy Rooks would make sure the city’s contribution for the project would not rise again, said Councilman Travis Crowe on Wednesday. “We voted for it if it’s not more than $48,414,” Crowe said. “If it’s more than that, I just don’t know what we’re going to do.”

Bells Mill Road is a primary route through Heflin, carrying traffic to Cleburne County’s high school and middle school.

City Clerk Shane Smith said the city originally thought its portion of the project would be about $30,000 with an Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement grant picking up the rest of the cost. But in the contract sent to the city by ALDOT, the city’s portion was listed as more

than $48,000, he said.

Rooks said the difference is the inspection and engineering cost.

“I sent a letter last month asking the DOT if they had the personnel to supply that for us,” Rooks said. “Undoubtedly they have agreed to do it, but we haven’t got a confirmation letter back.”

The price of the contract increased $31,571 from $210,499 to $242,070. That increase would be about the cost of the inspection and engineering services for the project, Rooks said.

Rooks was able to confirm with ALDOT Wednesday that unless there were cost overruns during construction, $48,414 would be the city’s remaining contribution, he said. The city has already paid $25,000 to JRWA Consulting of Eclectic for the initial engineering, which was done more than a year ago, Rooks said.

DeJarvis Leonard, division engineer for ALDOT, said the department is handling the inspection and engineering services for Heflin’s bridge project.

In the contract from ALDOT, the low bidder for the bridge work was Pelham-based Alabama Bridge Builders. The company bid $210,499 for the Bells Mill bridge project. If ALDOT doesn’t confirm that the city’s contribution to the project includes the inspection and engineering services, Rooks said the council will schedule a special meeting next week to take another look at the contract.

Rebecca White, spokeswoman for ALDOT said the ATRIP funding isn’t affected by the federal government shutdown.

“That money was already authorized,” White said. “That’s already a done deal.”

In other business the council:

— Recognized Tammy Perry, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, who was named the 2013 Outstanding Volunteer by the Alabama Communities of Excellence.

— Proclaimed Oct. 20-26 as Pro Bono Week in recognition of attorneys’ work for low-income residents. There will be legal aid clinics and service projects throughout the state that week, Smith said.

— Approved an ordinance protecting historic structures in the city’s general business district by allowing them to be used as a business or as a residence.

— Scheduled the annual Christmas parade for Dec. 14 at 6 p.m.

The next City Council meeting will be Oct. 22 beginning at 5:30 p.m. with a work session.

Staff Writer Laura Camper 256-463-2872. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.
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