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Issue delays construction at highway department building

County won’t have to pay for concrete

OREGON – After several weeks of waiting, Ogle County Engineer Curtis Cook could breathe a sigh of relief Monday afternoon.

He finally found out construction can resume on a new storage building at the highway department headquarters at 1989 S. Route 2.

Construction on the 90-by-150-foot building has been delayed about a month, Cook said Tuesday, because the concrete in the walls did not meet the strength requirements specified in the contract.

In accordance with building standards, the highway department’s contract with Cord Construction, Rockford, requires that concrete must be tested for strength 7 days after it’s poured, and again at 28 days.

The concrete in the building’s walls, however, did not meet the requirements at the first test.

“It’s in our contract that it needed to meet at the 75 percent level after 7 days,” Cook said. “It wasn’t there.”

The 28-day test done Monday, however, produced better results.

“Structurally, the concrete met the strength requirements of the contract,” Cook said.

Had the concrete failed the 28-day tests, it would have meant tearing out the walls – and probably the footings and underlying pipes.

The tests determined that the concrete was mixed with too high a percentage of water, Cook said.

“The contract spelled out the ratio of water,” he said. “They exceeded that.”

The concrete came from the Super Mix plant in Belvidere. The company also has a plant near Monroe Center.

It was poured by Preferred Concrete, Freeport.

Although the concrete is structurally sound, Cook said, it still did not meet the requirements of the contract.

He said he has been working with officials from Cord Construction to resolve the issues.

“I’m very pleased with the cooperation we got from Cord Construction. From Day 1, they acknowledged the problem and required the sub-contractors to remedy the situation,” he said. “As difficult as the process has been, they made it much better than it could have been.”

As result, the county will not have to pay for the concrete in the walls – estimated at $10,000. The walls will be sealed for extra weather-proofing at no cost to the county, and the 1-year warranty on the concrete has been extended to 5 years.

The big question now is whether the building will be completed by the June 30 deadline set by the contract.

“I think it will be delayed, but we’re not sure how much yet,” Cook said.

The timing is crucial, because work to rebuild and pave the parking lot is slated to begin July 7.

Cook said Cord officials will provide an updated construction schedule this week.

According to the terms of the contract, the contractor would be subject to damages of $1,025 a day after June 30.

Once completed, the $700,000 steel building will be used to store road graders and other heavy equipment, some of which currently sits outside.

The parking lot work will cost an estimated $278,000 and will be done by Martin and Co.

The money to pay for the building will come from the county’s long range planning fund.

Revenues in that fund come from the host fees paid by garbage collection firms to dump refuse in the landfills within the county.

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