The road construction project on a West Park Boulevard was only supposed to take three months. But faulty concrete poured by a contractor on the project now stands to keep the busy road shut through the winter and maybe into the spring.
The work, which began on Sept. 17, was sorely needed to replace an aging bridge on W. Park Boulevard near West Walnut Ave. But the concrete poured there did not pass a stress test and needs to be replaced, according to county spokesman Dan Keashen.
The work can't be done until at least March 15 because a key PSE&G gas line that runs under the bridge needs to be shutdown to either tear out the concrete or reinforce it and it can't be until the end of heating season.
Meanwhile, residents near the busy, two-lane road that connects into West End Avenue in Haddonfield, are complaining about additional traffic on side streets and a construction project that seems to have run amok.
"Are you kidding me?" a resident who lives on the corner of W. Park Boulevard and W. Walnut Ave. said when a reporter asked her what she thought of the delay. "The concrete didn't pass. Does that surprise you?"
The woman, who declined to give her name, said she has lived here since 1954. She said she had to put a lock on the temporary cyclone-type fence at the foot of the bridge because some motorists and pedestrians continued to pass through, even though the bridge was exposed with gaping holes.
She said she has complained to Freeholder Director Louis Capelli's office about the fence and the project, which has also damaged her driveway. She said she has gotten little result from her complaints.
Keashen said the freeholders know this delay is an inconvenience to neighbors near the bridge, but once construction is completed they'll have a safer road.
"The freeholders absolutely understand this situation is not optimal," he said. "Construction projects, every now and then, have problems. Our first and foremost concern is safety and to resolve the problem and have the road opened as soon as possible."
Keashen said he doesn't expect the county to incur additional cost for the $273,388 project because the contractor will absorb the cost for the delay. The general contractor is Schiavone and the concrete contractor is R.E. Pierson of Pilesgrove, he said.
Keashen said 10 cubic yards of concrete was poured on the bridge, but a computer error at Pierson was blamed for a mixture that did not meet the specifications.
"At the end of the day, Haddon Township's infrastructure will be better because of the project," Keashen said. "We’ll get through this and the the bridge will be good for another 50 years."