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Trail opening delayed

Sitting water, slope don’t meet ADA standards for use
Tiffin Public Works Director Brett Mehmen watches a video recorded by City Adminstrator Doug Boldt during a May 2 council meeting. The video shows ponding issues on the unopened Trail Phase Five. (photo by Shianne Fisher)

By Shianne Fisher
North Liberty Leader

TIFFIN– With the weather warming up, bikers and pedestrians may be tempted to use the new trail on the south side of town. But, city officials note, that trail is still closed.
“There are people that just go right around the orange fence. I see it every day,” said City Administrator Doug Boldt. “But it is closed off. It’s not ours yet.”
Due to ponding issues on much of the trail, the city has yet to accept the project (Trail Phase Five) from Metro Pavers, which completed construction last October.
The errors by the contractor were apparent, Boldt argued, in a video he shared at a Tiffin City Council meeting Tuesday, May 2. He said a ridge along the north side of most of the trail– which goes on for about half a mile or so east from Ireland Avenue– doesn’t allow water to drain off the pavement.
“What do we got, a 10-foot trail and we’re losing 2 to 3 feet?” asked council member Jim Bartels.
“At least three feet,” Boldt said.
After already requiring the contractor to fix multiple panels late last year, city council members questioned Metro’s performance and cooperation.
“I’m not a big fan of paying full price for a less than quality product,” said council member Peggy Upton.
Jay Anderson, of Hart Frederick Consultants, who engineered the project, said he has gone back and forth with Metro several times.
“It’s up to council now,” he said. “We gave them three chances, and we’re not getting anything.”
Boldt said according to the Iowa Concrete Paving Association, the trail does not meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards of a 2-percent cross slope, which creates a crown to help water drain off the trail.
“We asked them for a fix, and a fix to this… it’s tough,” he explained. “You could grind this whole thing. The problem is there really isn’t a machine that is 10 feet wide that would make it consistent.”
Solutions the council discussed were grinding out the mistakes, pouring asphalt over the concrete, or tearing the entire length up and redoing it.
“We do have some money in retainage and stuff, but not nearly enough to fix this. This is beyond that,” Boldt said.
He added that since the city received federal money for the $320,000 project from the Johnson County Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Iowa Department of Transportation has to sign off on it as well.
“At this point they (DOT) are reluctant because they haven’t seen blatant non-response from the contractor,” said Boldt. “They (Metro) have replied to our first notice. They did come in and replace the panels. They did do some grinding. As far as the DOT’s concerned, that’s cooperation. And I don’t disagree with that. It’s just not a sufficient amount of cooperation.”
After some discussion, city council members agreed that if Metro does not respond and agree to fix the ponding problem, the issue should go to the city attorney.
“This project is not going to end well,” Boldt added.