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Everett Road project set for June

Town of Farragut received good news from its engineering arm about its Everett Road project Thursday night, May 12.

With the long-awaited Kingston Pike/bridge widening project and red-light addition at Everett Road apparently ready for construction “activity” sometime from mid- to late June, the low bidder came in roughly $250,000 more than Town of Farragut Engineering staff anticipated.

However, “The good part about it is, our percentage of that cost is zero,” said Darryl Smith, Town engineer, giving his monthly report to Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen during its meeting in Town Hall.

“We’ll take it,” Mayor Ralph McGill added about the project, with low bidder McKinnon Construction Co., LLC — $2,056,121.94 — after bids let by Tennessee Department of Transportation Friday, May 6, according to Smith.

The low bid won’t be officially accepted by TDOT until around late May pending a routine review, Smith said after the meeting.

Construction “should be starting probably” in mid- to late-June, “you should start seeing things going on up there,” Smith advised the Board.

Smith reacted to concerns about obtaining quality contractors to bid on Town projects, and at least one case of a low bidder being unqualified. He did not question McKinnon’s qualifications.

“With this kind of economy, you can often times find people will maybe bid on work they’re not qualified to do,” Smith said.

“I hate to have someone that is really not qualified, and I have to come in and explain to the Board,” he added.

… We had that happen at the Farragut Memorial project two years ago.

“We had a couple of guys, their background was in mowing right-of-ways, and they were going to be laying a 60-inch pipe 15 feet deep,” Smith added. “I don’t think that they were really qualified for that. They had the low bid; they were about $70,000 low on a $240,000 contract.

“I think if we had given them the contract, they would still be out there digging now.”

Tom Hale, Farragut Town attorney, announced more good budget news: the Town successfully defended a lawsuit from Danco Incorporated, Knoxville, seeking to recover $85,000 the Town “deducted from what we owed them” for work deemed inadequate constructing McFee Park Phase I, Hale said.

The Town agreed, Hale said, to pay back $13,000 to Danco because of repair work done by Town staff that came in $13,000 less than estimated when originally withholding the $85,000.

Saying the case “was tried Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” Hale added, “We got the result that we hoped for. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you the Town staff that worked on this case, really from beginning to end, did an exceptional job.”

Hale praised current Town staffers Smith, Leisure Services director Sue Stuhl and Public Works director Bud McKelvey. “In particular, Ms. Stuhl sat with me at the counsel table for three sometimes interesting days,” Hale said.

“We wouldn’t have been able to get this result had Town staff not documented everything as well as they did,” Hale added.

The Town attorney also thanked Knoxville-based engineering-architectural firm Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, park designer, for its valuable cooperation — including testimony during the trial.

“Unfortunately, we had a contractor on this job that, I think, was a little bit like what Mr. Smith was saying: they took on more than they really knew how to do, and consequently they didn’t get it done.”

“I will say no more, the time for appeal hasn’t run [out] yet. I don’t want to make anyone madder than they already are. I don’t expect an appeal. … The judge’s ruling was pretty throughout and pretty much gave us what we wanted.”

After the meeting, Hale said Danco “had not properly constructed the soccer fields and had not properly seeded the yard area around the soccer fields.

“Grading wasn’t proper, and then when they put the Bermuda springs down, the Bermuda springs didn’t grown properly,” failing to meet “contract specifications,” Hale added.


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