Park City tunnel builder assigns the ‘A team’ to project amid mounting delays
The owner of the firm City Hall drafted to build a pedestrian-bicyclist tunnel underneath Kearns Boulevard, a project that is months behind schedule, said in an interview on Monday he personally took over the management of the work in recent weeks and said he has informed the municipal government the tunnel is a priority.
Jared Stapp, the owner of Stapp Construction, said he made himself the project manager three or four weeks ago and said he has discussed the progress with Mayor Andy Beerman. Stapp’s comments on Monday were made in the days after a City Hall report detailed the delays and the day before the Park City Council was scheduled to address the tunnel at a meeting on Tuesday.
Stapp said the mayor indicated he wanted the project to be a priority for the firm. He said he responded to the mayor by offering an assurance that the work is a priority. Stapp also said he told Beerman the firm’s top personnel is assigned to the tunnel.
“We have the ‘A’ team building the project,” Stapp said.
He described the presence of utility lines that needed to be addressed as one of the issues that put the project behind schedule.
“It’s a little more challenging than we and the city contemplated,” Stapp said.
City Hall described a similar scenario in the report to the elected officials, indicating a Rocky Mountain Power line conflicted with the project. The report says the power line provides service to the most of the city. The municipal government’s report also identifies delays caused by the weather and what is described as “contractor commitment.”
The tunnel is under construction adjacent to the Kearns Boulevard-Cooke Drive intersection and is designed to replace a crosswalk at the location. The project is part of City Hall’s long-running efforts to provide pedestrian-bicyclists routes as an alternative for people who would otherwise drive. It is located close to the Park City School District campus, and it is anticipated students will heavily use the tunnel.
The project has been blamed for exacerbating the traffic backups on the S.R. 248 entryway, already one of the Park City area’s worst chokepoints. The Park City Police Department has stepped up its patrols in the area around the work zone.
Stapp said the crew is currently constructing the retaining wall on the south side for the tunnel’s ramp. The south side of the project must also be backfilled, he said. Other work on that side of the tunnel that must still be completed includes the finishing of the sidewalks and railings and the installation of solar panels. Landscaping and electrical work is also pending, he said.
The work was initially scheduled to be completed on Aug. 30, a date that roughly coincided with the start of the school year for the Park City School District. City Hall says the work is now expected to be substantially completed during the week of Nov. 18. Stapp said the substantial completion date is targeted to be by Nov. 22.
He said the traffic situation will remain largely as it’s been until the project is completed. The temporary stoplight on Kearns Boulevard in the work zone will be kept in place until substantial completion is reached, Stapp said.
Stapp acknowledged it was “unrealistic” to set a completion date of Aug. 30.
The project was forecast to cost $3.8 million. The actual figure will potentially rise, City Hall has said, as a result of the issues during construction. Officials plan to negotiate with Stapp Construction after the project is completed regarding liquidated damages of $1,500 per day from the Aug. 30 deadline.
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