This year has been one of the busiest, if not the busiest, for infrastructure projects in the city of Davenport. But with all that activity, it has also seen a number of substantial delays that have fallen outside the city's and its contractors' control.
Alderman Mike Matson, 7th Ward, has been one of the strongest critics, calling out the need to correct delays caused by utility companies and he did so again Tuesday during the City Council's management update meeting.
"It's continuing to be a huge frustration," Matson said of the delays to the Kimberly Road and Division Street intersection improvement project. "Now, we're going to November. This was supposed to be done in summer."
The frustrations expressed over Kimberly Road and Division Street project are similar to those expressed about the Rockingham Road reconstruction project, which also saw its completion date pushed back.
At each of those sites, no workers were seen by the public for long stretches of time, causing the city to receive complaints about the impact on residents and businesses.
"It was three weeks just on that project and nobody ever came," Matson said of the Kimberly Road project. "Winter is going to come. Is it going to say until winter?"
In the case of the Kimberly and Division project, its delays are well documented on the city's website. In June, the city noted delays to phase II of the project due to weather and utility work.
Another delay was reported on July 14 in which the city cited unsuitable soils and installation of a gas main.
On Aug. 11, the full project completion was adjusted to Oct. 9, which is no longer the case. The same types of delays were reported on July 14 and Aug. 11 for the Rockingham Road project.
Matson was also perturbed by the lack of movement by the utilities and proper planning to prevent against these delays.
"A pole sits in the middle of a construction spot that they worked around and didn't move for a long time," Matson said. "To me, how is that pole not taken out at the beginning."
Alderman Ray Ambrose, 4th Ward, agreed with Matson's assessment and voiced his own concerns over its impact to residents and businesses.
"Businesses and neighborhoods are being victimized," Ambrose said. "There is tremendous financial impact by this and we can't allow it to go on."
After holding a meeting with utilities, Deputy Public Works Director Brian Schadt said Public Works has committed itself to a quarterly stakeholders meeting to help rectify the problems.
"They recognize they are holding us up on some of these as a far relocates and they've had some subcontractor issues," Schadt said. "We've had several major hits this year."
City Administrator Corri Spiegel suggested that the city look at explaining the "anatomy of a construction project" to help explain all the moving parts, which was well received by the Council.
"It's not just 'City crew did not do its job,'" Mayor Frank Klipsch said.