After several years of discussion, an infrastructure issue in Little Rice is nearing a fix. During its meeting last week, the Oneida County Forestry, Land and Recreation Committee was informed by county forestry director John Bilogan about a contract being signed for repairs to be done on four bridges on all-terrain vehicle (ATV) paths in the area.
"Finally with this agenda item (which has been in discussion for years) we have some good news," Bilogan said. "We actually have a signed contract. Part of the contract says the contractor will give us a week of notice prior to starting, he did tell us he would be getting ahold of us soon with his start date, but we haven't gotten this as of yet. But on the negative side, we've been working on this for so long the contract expires on July 6."
At issue with the bridges in question is technical flaws present when they were first installed by the Manitowoc-based McMullen & Pitz Construction Co. in 2014. Instead of driving the support poles for the wooden bridges down to the 12-foot length agreed to in the initial contract, McMullen & Pitz opted instead to go down to various shorter lengths. The company believed their work was sufficient at the time, but this was not to be. As a result, the bridges began to heave in spots.
Though committee members reacted positively to the news of a deal, concern about running past any deadlines prompted chairman Jack Sorensen to raise the option of an extension.
"Can we go ahead and motion to extend this for a few months today?" he asked.
Ultimately, the committee unanimously approved giving Bilogan the authority to extend the contract by 6 months if the situation called for it. According to Bilogan, work may begin soon.
"Right now, I believe he's planning on doing construction in the summer," Bilogan said.
Evan J. Pretzer may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.