EARLY — City officials here say they aren’t satisfied with two city streets Prater Equipment rebuilt as part of a $2.4 million street project, and they want the company to make it right.
But the Comanche construction company said nobody knows yet why asphalt is “bleeding” through the top rock layer on Old Comanche Road and Longhorn Drive, and the company isn’t ready to say it’s at fault, company vice president Mark Pirkle said.
“They don’t know, we don’t know,” Pirkle said. “Show us it’s our fault. We’ll come fix it.”
In some cases, asphalt on the streets is peeling and sticking to tires as vehicles drive across it, city officials say.
Early City Council members say the company is bound by a year-long warranty to repair defective work, and hinted Tuesday night at possible legal action.
The council isn’t at that point, but council members did authorize City Administrator Ken Thomas Tuesday night to send a certified letter to the company stating the two streets are not satisfactory and requesting that the company repair the problems.
The letter, in accordance with the city’s contract with the company, starts a 10-day clock in which the company would be required to make the repairs, Thomas and Early City Attorney Perry Sims said.
The 12-month warranty on the project expires Feb. 28, council members were told.
“Frankly, I don’t know if it’s defective workmanship or defective material, but it is defective product,” Ken Martin of Jacob and Martin of Abilene, the city’s engineering consultants, told council members.
No Prater representatives attended Tuesday’s council meeting. Pirkle, reached by phone Wednesday, said the company has a 12-month maintenance bond to do any repairs “due to faulty maintenance or materials.”
But the city hasn’t given the company any evidence that the problems are due to bad workmanship or materials, Pirkle said.
“We don’t know what’s wrong with it. Oh yeah, it’s bleeding. Nobody knows why it does it. Nobody has an answer,” he said.
In December 2005, Early council members awarded a $1.9 million contract to Prater, the sole bidder, for the street project. Surveying, engineering and contingencies put the total cost at about $2.4, and the city issued bonds to pay for the project.
Work included paving, seal coating, drainage and curb and gutter work on numerous city streets as part of the city’s Master Plan.
Work on all but Old Comanche and Longhorn has been satisfactory, city officials said.
City officials have had several conversations with Prater representatives. Thomas said the company has repaired some of the potholes on Longhorn that have been caused by vehicle tires pulling up asphalt.
“Just patching the hole is not going to be the answer,” Martin told council members.
Thomas said streets have two layers of asphalt and rock, and rock is the top layer. On Old Comanche and Longhorn, Thomas and Martin said, it appears not enough rock stuck to the asphalt, and that has allowed the asphalt to bleed through.
Council member David Gray said the company has said the problem was caused by Prater getting bad asphalt from its supplier.
“It’s the contractor’s responsibility to make sure he has good material,” Martin said. “The city expects him to furnish material that meets specifications.”
He said 100-degree summer temperatures will cause the streets to “come apart if the rock’s not there.”
“If nothing’s done, there will be no more street left,” Mayor Bob Mangrum said. “That’s it in a nutshell. Hopefully we won’t have to (take) any more steps” beyond sending the certified letter.