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Architect to pay for trail repairs
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TREASURE ISLAND – The cost of repairing about 25 to 30 hairline cracks on the wall of the northern section of the city of Treasure Island’s new Beach Trail will be paid for by Graham-Booth Landscape Architecture of St. Petersburg.

After more than an hour of discussion on the topic Feb. 5, Phil Graham, principal of Graham-Booth, said his company would cover the cost to fill the cracks with a liquid epoxy and apply polyurethane caulking to the exterior.

“It’s not going to be a large amount of money,” said Graham. “It won’t be tens of thousands of dollars.”

The cracks appeared during the initial construction phase on a 400-foot section. The area affected represents about 10 percent of the 4,300-foot length of the wall.

About 75 percent of the cracks penetrated both sides of the wall, Graham told City Commissioners. Most of the cracks, he said, were near transformer boxes and light fixture locations.

Graham-Booth has acted as the city’s consultant on the $1.6 million project since its inception in 2005. Coastal Technology Corp. of Sarasota is the design engineer.

“This is not a structural issue,” said Cliff Truitt, an engineer with Coastal Technology. “It’s not falling down and it’s not going anywhere. There’s nothing structurally wrong. It’s a cosmetic issue.”

Graham backed up Truitt’s assessment with a letter from Douglas Thomas, past president of the Florida chapter of the American Concrete Institute.

Thomas called the issue shrinkage-related.

“It’s not design-related and doesn’t appear to be a structural issue,” Douglas wrote. “There are minor cosmetic concerns and it should not cause any future maintenance.”

In the meantime, an experiment using additional expansion joints on other sections has remedied the problem. But the question of what to do with the initial 400 feet of the wall remained a cause for discussion.

“I’m in favor of tearing out the cracked sections (and rebuilding),” said Commissioner Alan Bildz. “No offense, but it looks like somebody was doing their first concrete job. That’s why we have a 1-year warranty.”

The other four members of the commission didn’t agree and overruled Bildz.

“The question is who is going to pay for this?” asked Commissioner Phil Collins. “We hired experts to do this and no one, including the contractor, expected this to happen. But the contract states the contractor shall pay for the proper execution of work and work shall be free of defects for one year. Work not conforming to these requirements could be considered defective. The contractor is responsible for correction of defective work, which certainly includes the design and the engineering of that work. The contractor shall bear the cost.”

Collins noted that the city has allocated more than $50,000 for additional expansion joints on the remaining construction and believes the responsibility of that cost should fall on the shoulders of other parties.

“I don’t think it’s incumbent on the city to pay for it,” said Collins. “The Treasure Island taxpayers shouldn’t have to shoulder this. The Treasure Island taxpayers didn’t have anything to do with it.”

City Manager Reid Silverboard said the question as to who should pay for the additional expansion joints can be decided when the city settles with the contractor at the completion of the project.

“I think the city should pay for a wall free of defects and cracking,” he said. “The important thing now is to get the wall built.”
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