Contractor says Rock Island Project to be Done Next Month

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Road work signs blocking traffic on Rock Island's 6th Avenue have been up for a long time.  Too long say aldermen and the mayor.

"We're 113 days past our substantial completion," said Rock Island alderman Joshua Schipp.

Work on one of Rock Island's biggest infrastructure projects in years was to be done by late October, then the deadline was moved to mid-December, and now, in mid-April, the work still isn't done.

"We don't want anyone to lose business too, but we feel we've done an excellent job, 100%, 110% by our employees too," said Terry Brandt, corporate secretary for Brandt Construction.

But in the Council Chambers, some aldermen weren't buying it and say it's time to assess damages of $2200 a day for every day work wasn't done by deadline.    That totals $248,000 as of April 11.

"I can tell you that I personally and many of my Council members up here plan on holding firm on that", said alderman Schipp.

Brandt told the council the company will challenge those penalties if they are imposed

"I don't understand in what universe that makes sense, just in terms of integrity, just in terms of professionalism," said Schipp.

Brandt was hired to complete a new sewer line beneath 6th Avenue for 18 blocks from 6th Street to 24th Street.  But aldermen say the project left some intersections closed for months and, at one time, seven consecutive intersections were closed to traffic at the same time.

Aldermen Schipp challenged Brandt, hinting the 11-and a half million dollar project was too big for the company.

"I don't think its fair for you to try to judge what our qualifications are because I'm not sure where you come in and think you know what pre-qualifications are and really understand the process of this project either," Brandt told the alderman.

"You took this contract on of your own free will.  It's your obligation to get it done within the scope of the project," said Schipp.

Brandt says the construction project ran into bedrock that needed to be blasted, pipelines that needed to be moved, and changes that needed to be made.

He says that took more time than originally expected.

"You know, that's the first thing that everyone wants to do is complain.  We're a company that comes up with solutions."

But not fast enough, it seems.

And the Mayor pushed for a completion date that can be etched in stone.

"We should be done probably by the first of May on most of the work but there's some work that probably won't get done until mid-May," said Brandt.