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Jim Blaylock
Work continues on the Springlakes project to improve the flow of Reed Creek to prevent nearby homes from flooding during heavy rain events.

Springlakes culvert project in jeopardy

Termination notice sent to contractor widening culverts

Posted: November 22, 2011 - 12:02pm  |  Updated: November 22, 2011 - 4:29pm
Work continues on the Springlakes project to improve the flow of Reed Creek to prevent nearby homes from flooding during heavy rain events.  Jim Blaylock
Jim Blaylock
Work continues on the Springlakes project to improve the flow of Reed Creek to prevent nearby homes from flooding during heavy rain events.

Twitter @DonnieFetter

Columbia County officials took action today to end a relationship with a contractor taking too long on a stormwater project in the Martinez neighborhood of Springlakes.
County Water Utility Director Bill Clayton told members of the county Public Works Services Committee this morning that he intended to send a notice of termination to Jeffery Harris Trucking to stop work on a culvert replacement project on Sandalwood Drive.
The deadline to finish the project is Friday, but Clayton said that just about half of the work is complete.
Harris disagreed. He said this afternoon by telephone that 70 to 75 percent of the work is done, but didn’t speculate on if he will meet the Friday deadline.
Clayton said Harris or his insurance company has five days to respond to the termination notice.
Harris said today that he has received the termination notice and intends to meet with officials on Monday. However, He said he needed time to review his notes on the project before answering questions. As 1:30 p.m., Harris had not yet called to offer details.
“I just don’t think this type of work is what he’s accustomed to,” Clayton told commissioners regarding Harris.
Another bidding process might not be required to complete the unfinished job.
“We have to get somebody in there pretty fast to finish up what he’s got opened up,” Clayton said this afternoon. “We can’t rebid that and take all that time. We have roads opened up over there.”
However, Clayton said the replacement of a culvert on Kestwick Drive, which also was part of this project, might be rebid. He said he doesn’t know yet how the county might proceed.
Following heavy rains, properties upstream of Springlakes on Reed Creek often flood. The $814,000 project is meant to prevent that flooding by widening the culverts and parts of the creek.
Though Harris turned in the lowest bid, he nearly didn’t win the project due to misgivings by officials regarding this abilities.
“The issue ... is that in some of the background information we got on him; we didn’t get the best recommendations for his company as far as their ability to perform a job of that magnitude,” Clayton warned commissioners in May prior to them awarding the project to Harris.
During an April meeting, the project engineer, W.R. Toole Engineers, recommended that commissioners award the contract to Bean Construction, even though its bid was about $200,000 more than the one submitted by Harris.
“We’re more than qualified to do the job,” Harris said to commissioners in his defense. “It’s a fairly easy job.”
Reluctant to subvert the bidding process, the commission ignored the warnings and awarded Harris the contract.

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Comments (5)


It appears we got what our

It appears we got what our wonderful commissioners paid for. Low bid equals low abiltity to do the job. Why didn't they listen to the people who were suspicious of this contractor and take heed of his poor track record? Thank you commissioners for looking out for your constituents best interests. NOT!!!!


In the late 80s and early 90s

In the late 80s and early 90s an event called the Republican Revolution occurred in Columbia County. The current leadership has either forgotten what happened and why it happened or do not know that history OR our current leadership is arrogant. It is time for another revolution, but let's not call it Republican, perhaps a TEA Party Revolution whose candidates will look after the quality of life of our community.

This construction has destroyed something beautiful. The photograph accompanying the article just begins to capture the destruction.



Set Up from the Start Up

Sounds like Mr. Harris was set up to fail. He needs to get a good attorney. I hope he kept meticulous notes.

Sweet son

Springlakes Homeowners: I hate it! Laugh out loud!

Association President should have approached Augusta Prep about borrowing lights so the contractor could have worked at night. You guys sound like folks who will not be satisfied whatever is done in the blessed pristiene Springlakes neighborhood! Sorry for my friend Bill Clayton because he has to deal with the Springlakes Homeowners Association!


Explain the Madness

The Prep lights issue has run it's course so sweet son please look for other material. And yes, our neighborhood will never be satisfied with anything less than what we are sold. Read the article - would you (and here I assume you are a "hill" person who has a grandchild at prep for whom you are paying tuition) accept the poor performance shown on this project? If you are employed, would you expect to be ridiculously late turning in work and get good reviews? It has nothing to do with where we live, it has to do with doing the right thing. Why in the world would our officials choose a contractor that was not capable in the eyes of a reputable engineering firm? A beautiful area can never be replaced and the eyesore of a drainage system is the biggest case of overkill that I have ever seen. And, for the last time, can anyone explain how (feel free to use any fluid hydraulics or Bernoulli's equation or whatever you need) to explain how flooding can occur way up on Wheeler Road but never occur in Springlakes? Be careful of your explanation...I slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night........