SHARON Changes push back start of bridge alignment fix

The contractor is being assessed a daily penalty for failing to complete the bridge on schedule.
SHARON, Pa. -- Some last-minute changes in the plan to correct a misalignment problem with the Oakland Avenue Viaduct have again delayed the start of that work.
The bridge contractor, Carmen Paliotta Contracting of Library, Pa., had proposed in November 2002 to correct the problem by jacking up the steel support arches of the unfinished span and slipping metal shim plates over the concrete pedestals that support the arches.
Mark Miller, Mercer County's bridge engineer, said a final version of that plan, along with a timetable for completing the work, was to be submitted to the county and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for review and final approval by late February.
Based on that timetable, Miller had told Sharon officials on Feb. 21 that work could begin as early as March and the bridge opened to traffic in June. Miller said Tuesday that that time frame is no longer accurate.
The final plan document didn't arrive until March 5 and it contained some changes that the county, its engineering consultant and PennDOT hadn't seen before, Miller said.
Instead of placing the metal shims on all eight pedestals, Paliotta now plans to place a shim on only one pedestal and make some other adjustments to correct the misalignment, he said.
He declined to be more specific about the plan until the county and PennDOT reviews of the latest document are completed later this week.
County and PennDOT comments on the plan will then have to be reviewed by Paliotta and its engineering consultants, Miller said.
Meanwhile, the county says Paliotta is in the penalty phase of its contract, being assessed a fee of $650 for each day after Feb. 24 that the job isn't finished.
The penalty money will be deducted from Paliotta's payment for the bridge work, Miller said.
The $3.6 million project, with 80 percent coming from the federal government and 20 percent from the state, began in early 2001 and was to be completed in November 2001.
The county, which owns the bridge, stopped work on the 300-foot span in November 2001 just before the concrete deck was to be poured after learning that the deck level of the bridge was out of alignment as much as three inches in some areas, giving the bridge a slight "S" shape.
Paliotta didn't come up with a plan to remedy that problem until November 2002.
The county had agreed to a 55-day extension of the contract and demanded that Paliotta come up with a final version of the repair plan and timetable by Dec. 31.
The company failed to meet that deadline and the county started the clock Jan. 1 on the remaining 55 days in the contract.
The extension ended Feb. 24 and the penalty began to accrue the next day.

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