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Missoula city, construction company at odds over path job

Published On: Jun 14 2013 07:18:53 PM MDT   Updated On: Jun 14 2013 09:07:49 PM MDT

A Missoula city crew ripped asphalt off a path meant to connect the UM campus area, the downtown Missoula area and the Rattlesnake. NBC Montana started asking questions when we found out that it’s the second time the path will be paved.

The city says the construction company that built the base, Patterson Enterprises, messed up, although independent spot tests didn’t find any faults in the base.  Patterson staff say the city laid the asphalt wrong. Either way, it’s money spent twice.

“We think that...based on all the facts on the ground that this is the best path forward,” said Gregg Wood, the project manager for Missoula.

Wood says he would have liked to see a ribbon cutting at the site, but instead, he’s supervising a re-do. The city paid Patterson Enterprises to build the path’s foundation, but Wood says it’s uneven and not as thick as it should be in parts.”

“The best way forward is to lift this up quickly,” said Wood. He also said that city crews are well within their right to do the work.

Across the street from the work, Patterson Project Manager Adam Pummill told NBC Montana that his company asked to do the job, and would have gotten it done right the first time.

“[I’m] pretty disappointed in our government officials, our local government, that they are not properly managing funds,” said Pummill.   

Wood says the material cost for the first paving is about $9,000. So we’re estimating by the time it’s paved again, the city will have shelled out $18,000. NBC Montana has a copy of Patterson’s bid for close to $16,000, which would have included labor.

“The asphalt's only going to be as good as the base,” said Wood.

The city says Patterson will re-check the base after the asphalt’s up. While the city admits the asphalt may have bad parts, Wood says he’d have to repave because the base is bad anyway. NBC Montana asked if the base is bad, could the crews notice as they worked on the path.  

“We’ll if you look on that side...you look here...the work that they did...was just not wide enough,” said Wood.

Wood tells NBC Montana that the project is still on track to meet budget. As far as the ribbon cutting ceremony, that will come eventually.