Paving For John R in Progress After All

December 2, 2019

Paving in progress Tuesday morning.
John R Street paving was completed Tuesday afternoon.

By Pat Maurer

Clare City residents got a welcome surprise this week when Harsh Excavating’s paving company workers showed up to surface John R Street after all.

With warmer temperatures, Harsh ordered asphalt from a company still open, and the street was completed this week.

City Manager Ken Hibl said Tuesday that the City was notified Saturday that the paving would be done now instead of in the spring as the City expected.

He said, “The City was very pleasantly surprised when Luke Potter, our Acting DPW Director during Al Jessup’s vacation absence, received a call from Aaron Harsh of Robbin Harsh Excavating on Saturday, November 23rd, informing us that he had made arrangements with Pyramid Asphalt of Bay City, Michigan – one of the last remaining asphalt plants still in operation in our region – to complete the John R Street Rehabilitation Project on Tuesday, November 26th.”

Hibl continued, “True to his word, the second and final coat of asphalt was applied at approximately 2pm today. The street will reopen for traffic tomorrow, November 27th.”

The City Commission and staff were very upset with the contractor at the last City meeting. Hibl informed the board that despite the notice to proceed with the roadwork on July 1st and the required completion date of October 31st, the street would not be completed until spring, leaving residents to deal with bumpy muddy roads until then.

While early cold weather and snow affected the completion date, Hibl said the contractor “chose to use his resources on other larger projects,” and that “repeated queries” about the project went unanswered. He also listed options for action against the contractor including “filing a claim for damages and disqualifying the contractor from future projects.” He said “We are still reviewing our options in that regard,” he told the board at that meeting.

Tuesday Hibl said he was thrilled that the street was now being completed. He said, “This extraordinary and unanticipated decision and action by Aaron fully extinguishes our previous disappointment that the project would not be completed this year.”

He continued, “For decades the City has enjoyed an excellent relationship with Harsh Excavating and have always considered them to be one of the premier infrastructure construction companies in our region. Their last-minute efforts to complete this street project has totally restored our faith in the company and its traditionally high standards. The major beneficiaries of their demonstrated diligence are our residents on John R Street. So on their behalf and on behalf of the City, we offer our appreciation and gratitude.”

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