Coasting past its deadline and toward its one-year anniversary, an end to the Highway 22 project in Riverside is nowhere in sight.
The Riverside City Council set July 22 as the project’s completion date at its May 20 meeting.
As the date came and went, the project was still in full swing.
Residents of St. Mary’s Street have been feeling the effects of the ongoing project since it began a year ago.
“We have to park back behind our house, so we’re walking through our neighbor’s yard to get to our house,” said Elisa Lyons, a resident of St. Mary’s Street.
Lyons’ driveway, which is situated at the corner of St. Mary’s Street and Highway 22, was torn up last week as work continued on that section of the highway.
The project, which includes the installation of sidewalks, storm drains, curbs, gutters and asphalt, has reduced the highway to a single lane to allow traffic to continue to flow as work is being done.
The council made additions to the project after work had begun, including the installation of some sidewalks and driveways on the east side of town and a switch from seal coating to asphalt on St. Mary’s Street.
These additional steps take time, said Brad Jipp, owner of Triple B Construction, contractor for the Highway 22 project.
“I would say the project is about 80 percent done,” said project manager Scott Pottorff of MMS Consultants.
The initially agreed-upon date of completion was May 31, 2019. The council voted to extend that deadline after a wet fall and spring limited the number of working days for the construction crew.
Triple B Construction is based out of Wilton — a 50 minute drive from Riverside.
“It’s a stressful work environment, too, with all those cars. People want us out on weekends, but when you’re working about 60 hours a week, that’s about all your nerves can take,” Jipp said.
“My No. 1 priority is that we’re safe. My No. 2 priority is that our job gets done right,” Jipp said.
In the initial contract for the project, it was agreed that contractors will incur a $500 penalty for each day that work is not completed past the deadline.
“We’re really pushing for them to be done by the time school starts,” said City Clerk Becky LaRoche.
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