LaFayette City Council mulls timing conflict

Published 10:00 am Friday, December 10, 2021

On Monday, the LaFayette City Council discussed a timing conflict between two major projects — a Spire gas line replacement and a paving project by Chris Clark Grading & Paving. The gas line project has to be completed first, for the most part, because it involves digging into streets. It has been stalled partially because Spire needed to get an ALDOT permit and partially because it had switched to a new system that had presented issues, according to company representative Ryan Tallmage.

City Attorney Joseph Tucker explained that the longer it takes for Spire to finish their project, the fewer windows of opportunity Chris Clark will have to pave due to cold weather.

“What Chris explained is we can only pave when the temperature is 45 F to 50 F and rising,” Tucker said. “So, if we have a cold January and/or a rainy January, then it’s going to be very difficult for his project.”

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Tallamage explained Spire’s situation.

“We should be on schedule within two to three weeks, depending on how the weather is this week. to be out of the area that ya’ll need to be in to start this [paving] project,” he said. “We should be able to air it up and gas it up some point this week or in the next two weeks.”

Tallmage said that Spire’s project wouldn’t be done until it had completed certain steps and that he couldn’t give the city a firm date on when it would be finished with its work. He suggested letting the city do some paving and then have Spire reopen some holes in the streets, which another company could pave back over when Spire was done.

“Will Spire be responsible for those days that we’re going to be behind with Mr. Clark, Chris Clark Paving?” asked councilmember Tammie Williams. “Who’s going to be responsible for those days that we have to pay him for if we’re not on time, if we’re not on schedule?”

Tallmage answered that he wasn’t sure. He offered to provide phone numbers to higher-ups at Spire and said he could get a more knowledgeable representative from his company to talk to the council at a later date.

Williams asked Clark whether the city or Spire would be charged for the city running out of time to be paved.

“I really don’t know anything about us back charging the city for any of our time,” Clark said.

“Well, your contract expires like right now,” Joseph Tucker said. “So your price is subject to disappearing. So if you felt the need to reprice something, that’s technically where the city would run into owing you money.”

Clark said he didn’t foresee his company back charging the city at all.

“This is a common thing we run into,” he said. “I don’t foresee us changing our prices.”

Councilmember Terry Mangram asked Clark if it would be better to postpone the project until later, perhaps in the spring. Clark responded that his company didn’t have a problem doing a project on a short notice.

Tucker said he thought the city and Chris Clark paving should do a formal extension so they wouldn’t run into any legal issues.