Concrete not in compliance

Concrete poured for a new bridge being constructed on County Road 5240 over Beaver Creek south of Rolla is not in compliance with cold weather concrete specifications, according to an engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

The Phelps County Commission was made aware of the compliance issue during Thursday morning's meeting.

Darin Pryor, planning engineer with MoDOT, sent an email dated March 13 to Jason Murphey, of Great River Associates, the project manager for the bridge project. The commissioners, along with others at MoDOT and Brenneke Construction, LLC, the general contractor on the bridge work, also received a copy of the email.

Pryor stated that concrete poured for the new center pier of the bridge on March 9 does not meet cold weather concrete specifications. Pryor went on to write, "There was no temperature monitoring equipment on site to demonstrate that the concrete had been protected from freezing as the specification requires."

The commission, Murphey, Brenneke and others at MoDOT also received another email dated March 11 from Dennis Brady, MoDOT senior construction inspector, stating that he had not received a plan for pouring concrete in cold weather when temperatures fall below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brady wrote that during a meeting held Jan. 10, a copy of the cold weather concreting specs outlined in section 703.3.10 of the 2011 Missouri Standard Specifications for Highway Construction was given to Murphey.

County commissioners questioned how this could have happened, noting that representatives from MoDOT and Great River Associates both stated they would have inspectors on the construction site every day.

District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks said starting in February, he visited the site almost every day and received photos from the work.

District One Commissioner Larry Stratman asked that since the concrete has already been poured, "how will we tell if the strength (of the concrete) is adequate?"

Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp said he believes the concrete is normally inspected as it is being poured.

Pryor asked Murphey for a plan to demonstrate that the concrete has been protected from freezing. Verkamp said he had not been copied on any email from Murphey or heard a response from him as of Thursday afternoon.

The cost to cut off the concrete cap of the center pier of the bridge and remove and reset the girders and repour a new cap was estimated to cost at least $24,500.

That cost is being shared between Brenneke and Great River Associates.

Work on the bridge was stopped in November for about three months after it was noticed that there was a higher than anticipated slope on the bridge that was caused when the contractor was building the center pier and used Great River Associates' plans, which had a discrepancy in the elevations and dimensions.

Brenneke was given a notice to proceed work again starting Feb. 5 and was given 45 days to finish the work.