January 15, 2009

Corps replaces marina construction contractor

Corps replaces marina construction contractor

By STU MERRY

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday it is replacing the contractor working on the new Garrison Bay Marina at Fort Stevenson State Park. Officials cited one reason for the decision is that the project is more than four months behind schedule.

A Corps official in Omaha said the contract with Martin Construction of Gladstone was terminated because of the firm’s failure to meet the October 2008 completion date and subsequent commitment to finish the project.

The president of Martin Construction, Kurt Martin, admits the dismissal was expected.

"They (Corps) needed to blame somebody for their bad design and we were the ones," he said.

Martin’s explanation points the finger at a defective cofferdam design that the Corps would not take responsibility for – a design that Martin Construction crews spent the bulk of the summer trying to correct, thus, putting the project well behind schedule.

While the excavation of the marina basin is nearly done, the overall project is only 70 percent completed, Corps officials maintain. The recent cold and snow did not contribute to the decision since the contract was already significantly behind schedule before severe weather arrived, the spokesman said.

The problem is twofold. First was the plan for de-watering the basin of the marina. Martin Construction crews spent the majority of the summer experimenting on ways to try to make the cofferdam function as it was supposed to function.

"But the defective design of the cofferdam made that impossible," Martin explained.

Secondly, because of the large amount of silt that the Corps didn’t know about prior to designing the project the mouth of the marina will now be 1800 mean sea level (msl) at the cofferdam opening rather than 1790 msl (the depth of the marina basin).


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