An arterial near Puyallup’s South Hill Mall will reopen for the holiday shopping season, starting Monday, though construction has yet to be completed on the troubled project.
The 39th Avenue Southwest rebuilding has been underway for about a year amid a controversy that saw the city terminating the original contractor and hiring a new one to complete the road.
The project was to have been finished last month, but the dispute and some rework delayed its completion.
“The road will be reopened Monday morning along its full width, although some work remains to be done. We’re suspending most of the remaining work for the winter and anticipate the project’s final completion early next year.
“As you know, this project was unfortunately and greatly complicated by the city’s having to switch contractors midstream due to performance issues with the original contractor. As all lanes are returned to full usability, traffic should ease considerably. We appreciate everyone’s patience and ask that folks contact us with any questions or concerns,” said Puyallup city spokeswoman Brenda Fritsvold in a statement.
Puyallup City Engineer Mark Palmer said the project’s completion was delayed by a rebid of the contract after Conway Construction Co. of Oregon was terminated on the project in March.
“It took us nearly three months to assess the situation, to draw up new specifications and to rebid the contract,” he said.
Meanwhile, Conway has sued Puyallup in Pierce County Superior Court.
The contractor contends the city erred in the design of the project, failed to specifically describe the problems it saw in Conway’s work, failed to allow sufficient time for the contractor to remedy some issues and didn’t pay Conway completely for the work it had done.
The company is seeking unspecified damages for what it contends is the city’s breach of the agreement to alter the road.
In a letter to Conway, the city said the contractor built a wall abutting the road improperly, failed to erect safety signs needed during construction, contaminated ballast beneath the pervious concrete surface of the road, failed to respond to some of the city’s complaints about construction quality and deviated from construction plans.
Conway denied those claims and said it had corrected items after the city complained.
City officials say they have received numerous complaints from residents about the project’s slow pace and its effect on traffic near the busy retail area.