From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 105, Number 44 - October 30, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Town Council hears more construction complaints

by Stephen Crane

With all members present, the Pinedale Town Council met on Monday evening before a crowd of around 15 people.

A citizen’s concern about the ongoing sewer projects on the west side of Pinedale was the most pressing issue that arose during the meeting.

As a Class-A contractor with both bridge and road licenses and with over 20 years in the development business, Bob Jones voiced his growing alarm at what he saw as shoddy workmanship on the Phase I portion of the project, near Club House Road.

“The work that’s being done over there is absolutely substandard,” said Jones. “Mark my words, in a couple of years, you’re going to see all of those roads washboarded.”

Jones’ complaint was nothing new for some of the council members, including the mayor.

“I’ve heard the exact same thing from several other people,” said council member Dave Smith.

“And I’ve heard it too,” said Mayor Stephen Smith. “But it’s difficult sometimes because we get so many complaints to try to distinguish the person that says, ‘Gee, this is a headache,’ but it sounds like he has some really good points that I think we need to take a look at.”

At the heart of Jones’ concern are the backfill procedures taking place on the project. When new piping is laid under road surfaces, dirt must be used to fill the trench. And at the depths of the current project, proper compaction of that dirt is crucial for long-term sustainability of the road surface. According to Jones, this compaction has not been taking place.

“My general comment is anytime you get in a hurry, it always bites you,” concluded Jones. “And what’s happening right now is I’m seeing them rushing.”

For the first two feet of fill dirt, compaction is unneeded, to prevent damage to the underlying pipeline. As the layers of dirt continue to rise above that two foot level, however, compaction must take place every eight inches or so, which entails a roller in wide spots and a “jumping jack” in tighter spots that may include elements of infrastructure, such as manhole covers that reach up to the road surface.

The top five feet of dirt that rise to the road surface must meet 95 percent compaction standards, and in order to do this properly, those eight-inch lifts must take place.

“Normally, you do your compaction down low like that, and then you bring it up in eight-inch lifts with a roller,” said Jones.

“And I didn’t see a roller in there once. “So I commented to the guy (working), I said, ‘How do you guys get away with that?’ And I got a smile. And I said, ‘If that was a state job, they’d shut you down.’ And I got a smile.”

Jones, who lives in the area, spent a few hours watching the work taking place a few weeks ago. He was astonished at what he saw.

“Where I really have a beef was when they were back filling, they would just come in and dump some dirt in,” he said. “When you just dump things in, and then you drive over it with a tractor and you let traffic drive over it, what ends up happening is you get uneven compaction. Well, all this time that I was there, there was not one inspection that went on.”

A member of public works said he had been on the job site and watched the compaction taking place. He deemed the work adequate.

“If at any time we might need to bring in somebody independent to evaluate the work being done, I’m perfectly happy to do that,” said Mayor Smith.

“Have the town take a backhoe out and dig up around that manhole (cover) and see what happens,” said Jones. “I swear to god, everything I have, that that was not compacted properly.”

“If we have to tear something out and do it right, now’s the time to do it before we put the black stuff down,” said councilman Smith. “The cheapest way to do it is right the first time, regardless of the cost.”


— Department Heads also reported to the council.

From the Sublette County Sheriff’s Department, Capt. Mike Peterson reported that things have been “a little calm for the last few weeks, but I’m sure that’s just temporary.”

Municipal Officer Jennifer Gocke issued 14 citations in the last month, and has issued repeated warnings to Ridley’s Market concerning the unkempt appearance of the store, both in front and behind the store. She also took issue with the trailer parked behind the store for multiple days.

She has been issuing numerous warnings to residents and businesses that have vehicles parked on town right-of-ways. These vehicles must be moved every 48 hours, particularly in light of the upcoming winter, when snow removal demands more space.

Public Works was given approval for a $5,500 computer system and software upgrade for its SCADA monitoring system.

The council also agreed to suspend the “No Dig” rule at the discretion of public works. The Town Engineer, Eugene Ninnie, reported that BloomField Subdivision is proceeding with its sewer and water infrastructure.

He also requested that a memorandum of understanding be drafted for the new library addition and skateboard park upgrades concerning future maintenance responsibilities of the projects.

Ninnie also reported that the town traffic report and G.I.S. system should be completed within a month or so.

Airport manager, Jim Parker, was given approval to lease the hangar on lot 30 to Biffle Investments.

— The council supported the efforts of the owners of the Pinedale Campground, located at 204 South Jackson Avenue, to begin the process of selling their property to the town at $10 per square foot for the approximately 13,000 square-foot property.

— The council passed ordinance 441 vacating Half Moon Avenue, located between Hennick and Skyline Street.

— A representative from the new Wells Fargo, located on Pine Street, was given approval to close North Fremont Street on Nov. 5, from 12-8 p.m., pending the support of another local business that could be affected by the closure.

— In a vote of 3-1, the council voted to approve resolution 2008-14 granting the $4.1 million contract for the Energy Performance contract of the town garage construction. Not having seen the actual contract, council member Dave Smith voted against the resolution.

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