It's looking as if the Northpointe slip repair project won't meet deadline and will be delayed in reopening.
At a tense meeting Monday, officials from the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Muskingum County Commissioners, the County Engineer and members of the project design team met to iron out discrepancies in project costs and options in finishing the project.
It was discussed the possibility of adding a curtain drain, as well as removing more soil. At debate was the contractors estimate that increase in costs and time would mean $1.1 million when ODOT figured the costs at $380,000.
"The greatest ideas in the world all come down to cost," said Muskingum County Engineer Doug Davis. "Is it beneficial? What is the best resource to proceed at this time?"
It was decided a curtain drain wasn't necessary at this time. The other problem taking place is that the soil being removed is too wet to be put back into the ground. The contractor, Ron Scurlock, made the suggestion to add lime or concrete to the mix to get it compacted. ODOT expressed concern that even this option may not work and will add costs.
"You don't often times pour concrete in the middle of winter when it's 15 below zero," explained Davis. "That's an extreme condition and that's what we're looking at. Is cement, lime or another by-product to use to hydrate the soil and dry it out."
If ODOT and the contractor can come to terms on the costs and project it will need to be approved by the Federal Highway Administration. Scurlock said the road then could open by the end of December or as late as February. Since it will be well into winter by that time only a base layer of asphalt will be placed on the road and the other layers added in the spring.
The county will have to pay 20 percent of the costs occurring after the November 15 federal deadline for the project.