Many students and teachers have experienced first hand the annoyance of the slow construction on Leesville Road. With it now complete, residents of the area have a few questions for DeVere Construction Company as it seems there is some unfinished business.
The addition of sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes have made Leesville Road safer for all pedestrians. However, no one said all was up to code. Residents of the area, greatful for the additions to the neighborhoods, have some concerns. Newly placed sidewalks have already developed cracks and some parts aren’t even finished. Bike lanes haven’t been labeled, crosswalk lights have been covered up, the designated area for the crosswalk haven’t been painted on the roads, and a right turn lane hasn’t been completed either. Cones left on the road and all the unfinished business is troublesome.
Chris Johnson, Design and Construction Manager for the City of Raleigh, explains the unfinished business: “DeVere has voluntarily withdrawn from the project due to financial difficulties. They were utilizing Liberty Mutual as their bonding company, which is the same bonding company that has represented DeVere on a multitude of projects across the state.” Currently, the City is trying to create a takeover agreement with Liberty Mutual so the remaining work for Leesville Road can be bid out to another contractor to complete the work.
“Large municipal transportation projects, much like many other types of projects, require the contractor to obtain a performance bond prior to construction, which provides insurance that the project will be completed in the case of a default by the contractor– which happened during this project,” said Johnson. Failure for DeVere to complete their assignment, has activated the performance bonds created. Performance bonds are used to insure satisfactory of the customer, of said project, and holds the constructor and team accountable for their job.
Planning to finish the project by the end of the year, the City of Raleigh will label the road complete after it passes inspection. Inspection isn’t a hard process, it just takes time. All areas are looked at with a magnifying glass to ensure public and environmental safety. Currently, there is a lot of concerns. Curbs and sidewalks installed just months ago already have cracks, areas where grass has yet to germinate will cause erosion problems. Other problems include the road. “Once final pavement markings go down, they have to be clearly visible at night….If marking are not bright enough, then a reflectivity test is required to see that they meet the minimum level. If they fail, then they must be removed and replaced,” said Johnson. If any items do not pass the walkthrough the City will not accept the project.
There is a one year warranty period to make sure the area has stayed up to code and details don’t show that usually develop after some time. “Although not common, I have seen projects that required the final lift of asphalt removed and replaced because it didn’t hold up due to problems in the mix. Issues [like this]… require a year of stress from vehicles (especially trucks) before they show visible signs that there was a problem during installation,” said Johnson.
Aiming to fix all problems and finishing their original goals of adding raised medians, bike lanes, sidewalks, and improvements of intersections, the City is working diligently. Unable to work in January since road work is temperature sensitive, construction was already behind. The hiccup with DeVere has only set the project back further angering residents of the area.
Construction in the beginning was annoying and “a huge inconvenience for the Leesville community. People have had to redo their morning schedule; you had to schedule time to get through,” said Sarah Cade, teacher at Leesville. Thankfully before DeVere experienced financial difficulties, the road was widened to help with traffic flow. Although, there is never a great time to start construction, the City and DeVere weren’t prepared for the surplus amount of traffic that the job would create in the area. Two schools, one also a church, plus, parents trying to leave for work and Leesville students trying to arrive at school on time made the area dangerous and crowded.
The City hopes to complete the project at the end of the year. “We are planning to install landscaping in the fall during prime planting season. Most of the Medians will be planted with trees/shrubs, as well as some locations in the shoulders behind the sidewalks,” said Johnson, hoping to help with any erosion problems the area can face.
With finishing touches waiting to be added in the area, people will have to wait and see if the City of Raleigh can keep on schedule and experience no more hiccups.
UPDATE — the sidewalk ramp pictured above has been fixed. (3/22/2016)