Matter tabled so City, WSN can work toward a compromise on the cost

    During Monday’s Crookston City Council Ways & Means committee meeting, the council heard from Widseth Smith Nolting & Associates engineer Blake Carlson about the factors that led to a change order in the Crookston Municipal Airport project. Additional money was spent to replace one of three concrete slabs that suffered frost heave damage over the winter and, after a lengthy discussion between the council and Carlson, the council and Mayor Wayne Melbye tabled the subject saying they hoped they could come to a compromise on the cost.

    The total cost for the airport change order was $9,300 which included new wiring and the slab replacement.

    Carlson explained that, as part of the fuel project at the airport, they put in three concrete slabs; one for the new fuel tank, the second for a cabinet to fill the tank, and the third for the fuel pump. Over the winter, the fuel pump slab moved and was uneven so they excavated four feet down and put in a granular material that was not frost susceptible, and then placed the new slab on top of that this spring.  

    Mayor Melbye asked Carlson why the three slabs at the airport aren’t tied together if they knew they had water problems there and then wondered why there isn’t some sort of guarantee by having someone engineer the project.

    “Isn’t that why we hire an engineer to make sure this stuff doesn’t happen?” asked Melbye.

    Carlson answered saying he can’t “absolutely guarantee” something won’t happen.

    “In this case there was a slab there before and there were no frost heave issues so we thought it would be okay with the one we put in,” Carlson explained. “We do add value to the project and look out for your best interests.”

    “I blame it on Mother Nature,” he added. “There was something in the soil or water that wasn’t before.”

    Ward 5 council member Dale Stainbrook asked if the same problem could happen again next spring to which Carlson replied saying it takes three things for frost heave to happen: freezing temperatures, water and soil. Carlson said if you remove one of those three factors, like they did by putting in a material that wasn’t frost susceptible, it should have a better outcome.