After months of delays and controversy, Pine Creek Canyon Road remains clear and open.
But that doesn’t mean the county can yet close the books on a problem-plagued project that tied Pine traffic in knots for months.
The Gila County Public Works Division recently asked the board of supervisors to continue the contract with the project’s consulting engineer, C.L. Williams Consulting, Inc. As part of the presentation by Steve Sanders, the division’s deputy director, the list of extensions and amendments to the contract with Williams were included.
But District 3 Gila County Supervisor John Marcanti complained that on too many jobs with the county, Williams has come back for amendments and more money.
“I want the county manager and finance [department] to see what we can do about this. I don’t want to pay (more) if we don’t need to,” Marcanti said.
Sanders, in a later interview with the Roundup, said the county has not yet closed out the project or processed final pay applications. The contract with Williams ended June 30, 2013 and public works wanted to extend it to Dec. 31, 2013, “in the event the services C.L. Williams Consulting, Inc. provides are required for the resolution of outstanding issues…”
The county must complete a final review before closing out the contract. Williams, as the consultant, is the one that is best suited to do that review, said Sanders. Carson Construction of Wickenburg did the actual work.
Supervisors called the project a “nightmare” at the June 25 meeting, due to problems with acquiring easements, moving utility lines, weather delays, access and the delays caused by detours.
“We probably should have had a better plan,” Sanders told the board.
“It was a learning experience,” he told the Roundup.
“Limited access was the biggest problem. There was no way to close the entire road for extended periods. No easy detours were available,” he said.
District 1 Gila County Supervisor Tommie Martin said the problem with the utilities was that APS and the cable company didn’t do anything until the last minute. “They didn’t start (moving their lines) until the work started,” she said. The gas provider did its work when it needed to be done and the county knew in advance it would be working with the water provider through the course of the project, she added.
Martin said the county started work on Pine Creek Canyon Road in 2004 and began securing the 70-plus rights of way it needed in 2005.
“Some people wanted us to buy the rights of way and we could have obtained them through eminent domain,” she said. Instead, they tried to show the property owners the value the improved road would add to their lots.
At its June 25 meeting, the matter of extending the contract with Williams was tabled and has yet to come back to the board’s agenda.