Sidewalk snafu

August 26, 2021

The excitement for new sidewalks has turned into a big headache for city leaders.

The machines used to make the sidewalk have sat idle for several days through at least Monday.

City manager Chuck Ralls is frustrated with the process and has made it known.

“I was told I was too confrontational and so they told me I could no longer talk to (project manager Colton Roberts) and that I had to run all communication through ODOT,” Ralls said.

The construction was originally planned to begin in June, but Schiralli Construction Company, who won the bid for the project, asked for an extension due to a delay at other projects. The Comanche City Council extended the start date to Aug. 1, but little has been done.

“They’ve made two cuts in 23 days,” Ralls said.

One of the sticking points seems to be the downtown light posts. According to Ralls, the city, by contract, was responsible for taking out the lens of the poles and turning off the electricity, but the construction company said the city was responsible for taking the lights completely down.

“I send the paperwork off to ODOT for clarification and haven’t heard back from them,” Ralls said. “(The company) wanted me to take all the power down at once, but I advised them that I was not going to take all the power down at once because I couldn’t leave Main Street dark for four months. So, we would work around them and remove what needed to be done.”

The frustration does not end there. “We were told when we did the extension that there would be message boards and advertisements in the newspaper to educate the public, but none of that has been done,” Ralls said.

Ralls said he was told by the company that once they came on site, they would be on site until project completion.

“You can see that’s not what happened,” Ralls said.

The Comanche Times left a message for the contractor, but he did not return the call as of press time on Tuesday.

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Comanche Times