Street paving late; finally starts

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

The company hired to resurface a number of streets in Demopolis has entered into "liquidated damages" with the city.

S.T. Bunn, which won a bid worth nearly $300,000 in April, signed a contract with the city assuring officials they would have a specified list of streets resurfaced by the first of November. Those familiar with the paving projects know most of those streets have not been re-paved, yet.

A number of factors contributed to the Tuscaloosa company not completing the work on time. S.T. Bunn, which at one time had an office in Demopolis, initially felt it could complete the work as dictated by the contract, but a state project kept them out of Demopolis.

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The road work done on Interstate 59/20 in Greene County also was done by S.T. Bunn, and as Caldwell put it, the liquidated damages with state government would have been "much more expensive" than with the city of Demopolis.

Liquidated damages, as Caldwell explained, means S.T. Bunn will have to deduct money &045;&045; about $200 a day &045;&045; from their bill to the city for every day they are late after the November deadline that has since passed.

There are exceptions to the contract, as is the case with any outdoor work. Holidays, Sundays and days when it rains or the temperature drops below 40 degrees do not count against the contract.

Obviously, that didn’t happen, but instead of collecting a check each day, Caldwell said the city will put that money to work.

Last week, S.T. Bunn began its resurfacing project in the city, starting with Front Street, which runs adjacent to Food World.

In April, an engineer who has worked with the city for a number of years helped devise a list of streets that were in dire need of resurfacing.

Bob Evans, of Almon and Associates in Tuscaloosa, spent time in each of the city council districts and presented a list composed of five different classes. Class 5, for instance, included the roads that needed the most immediate attention.

Council members and Caldwell agreed to spend $300,000 on the first two classes of streets, which are spread throughout the city, and the process by which the streets were chosen brought satisfaction to the entire city council.

Though S.T. Bunn has entered into liquidated damages with the city, Caldwell and Councilman Thomas Moore believe the Tuscaloosa company is the best one for the job.

And as Caldwell plainly put it: "They were the low bidder, and they’re responsible."