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Possible Streetcar Delays
CINCINNATI (Joe Webb) -- The two-week work stoppage in December triggered a series of events that could create a two-month delay on a key part of the streetcar project, the maintenance facility that will be built at Race and Henry.
As it turns out, when the city stopped the work, some people simply found other things to do. Crews were getting ready Thursday to put the last lengths of rail on the Elm Street stretch of the Cincinnati streetcar. But around the corner, no work is underway on the maintenance facility and any start on that could be delayed.
Project managers were blindsided by the structural steel supplier for the maintenance building, CHC Fabrication. They blame the two week pause.
"Good news for them, they got a lot more work that they'd bid during the pause period than they thought they were going to get. So our work kind of fell off their radar screen. And we kind of fell off their schedule."
Deatrick says that will cause a two-month delay on the building that needs to be ready next spring to store the first streetcars. They will try to absorb the delay but it is likely to come at a cost. The pause created other unexpected delays.
"Duke Gas in particular, because of the pause they moved off-site and because of the cold weather they're having trouble bringing crews back to finish some of the work."
Deatrick says that will delay some water main work schedule along Race Street. The costs of the delay were discussed at length by city council in December when they voted, again, to proceed with the project.
Some council members have trouble accepting that a brief delay changed the construction landscape for some but not all.
"It was a two week pause. A minimum pause. We should be able to get right back on track and move forward."
"We don't hear Messer and Prus saying, 'Oh this 2 weeks is going to cost extra.' They said, 'Let's get back to work' and they were out the next day trying to do things."
I called CHC's Cincinnati office and was referred to their CEO, Pat McLaughlin in Columbus. He did not return my call, so we don't know what CHC has to say about their delay.
John Deatrick says all of the contractors will be meeting with the city on the 31st. At that time, they hope to know just how much these things will ultimately effect the schedule and how much they will cost.
On February 4th, the Federal Transit Administration will have representatives in Cincinnati to meet with the city. They will definitely have all their numbers in order by then.
Despite the talk of delays, Deatrick says he still expects the streetcar project to be up and running by September of 2016.