MERCER COUNTY Plan to repair viaduct isn't OK, officials say



The countdown of the 55 days the company has to complete the bridge project began Wednesday.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
MERCER, Pa. -- Mercer County says a plan submitted by the Oakland Avenue Viaduct contractor to correct a misalignment problem with the bridge isn't acceptable.
County Commissioner Olivia Lazor said the proposal submitted late Tuesday by a construction management firm on behalf of Carmen Paliotta Contracting of Library, Pa., wasn't really a corrective plan at all but really just a "concept paper."
"What they gave us was their plan on how they plan to do this," Lazor said.
That wasn't what the county wanted by the Dec. 31 deadline it had imposed and sanctions -- which could include daily fines -- are being taken against Paliotta, Lazor said Thursday.
What must be done
The company was hired to replace the 300-foot span over the Shenango Valley Freeway in Sharon and razed the old structure in the spring of 2001 with plans to complete the new one in November of that year.
The county, which owns the bridge, halted work on the project in November 2001 after learning that part of the deck was as much as 3 inches out of alignment, giving the bridge a slight "S" shape.
The county and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which is footing the bill along with the federal government, directed Paliotta to come up with a plan to correct the problem and Lazor said the county is tired of waiting.
Paliotta did make a proposal in November 2002 to correct the problem by jacking up the steel support arches and slipping metal "shim plates" over the concrete pedestals beneath the arches and both the county and PennDOT accepted that suggestion.
No comprehensive plan
However, Paliotta didn't present a comprehensive plan on how and when that work would be done and the county commissioners set a Dec. 31 deadline for that information.
The county had suspended the contract Nov. 2, 2001, leaving the company with 55 days to finish the job once work resumed.
Lazor said the sanctions taken against the company end the contract suspension and start the clock on the 55-day completion period. The countdown began Wednesday, she said.
Failure to get the job completed in that time period will result in daily fines of $650 against the company until the work is done, she said.

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