Sinkhole repair larger than thought


By Frank Lewis

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What started out on the Portsmouth City Council agenda as an appropriation of $25,000 for repair of a sinkhole quickly ballooned to an appropriation of $100,000 for that project Monday night. After the item to repair a sinkhole adjacent to the sluice gate well for pump station 2 was introduced, an immediate motion to amend was made.

“Mr. President, I move the amount be amended to $100,000 from the $25 (000),” First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson said.

“You also need to amend the estimate from $18,000 to $80,000,” City Manager Derek Allen said.

That request drew a question from Third Ward Councilman Kevin E. Johnson.

“Was it more than what we originally anticipated?” Johnson asked.

Allen said the sinkhole located at the levee behind OSCO Industries was visible above ground and the original thought was that a pipe had shifted and the original estimate was for somebody to fix a small segment of pipe and then to fill the sinkhole. That original estimate was just $18,000.

“As we went through this the consultant actually went down in the pipe and inspected a greater distance and found out that it was corrugated metal and the whole bottom is rusted out and there’s voids,” Allen said. “And so once that was discovered we had mentioned that it could be up to $200,000 and we contacted ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) to see if they would pay for the repairs because basically it was the pipe which they had installed back in the sixties and they declined.”

Allen said, armed with the knowledge that it was a larger segment than originally believed, there are companies who have a state bid and estimates are made based on the lineal footage of the repair. He then introduced the new bid.

“This is the lowest of the state bid contractors and they bid $80,000 and they will reline the entire segment,” Allen said. “Then, when they reline it they will bore a hole in the lining and they’ll pump grout to fill the void.”

Allen said the discrepancy between the $80,000 estimate for repair and the requested appropriation of $100,000 is that no one knows how much grout will have to be pumped in.

The actual estimate from D. A. Van Dam & Associates is for $68,600 for pipe; $10,450 for grouting and $1,250 for mobilization of ODOT District 9 for a total of $80,300. The quote is solely based on existing pipe being in the same condition as the date of the quote which was June 22, 2015.

The additional $20,000 appropriated is there to cover any additional grouting needed for the project. If any of that difference is not spent it will remain in the fund.

The good news is that once that project is completed, the long awaited levee certification in the city of Portsmouth as well as the village of new Boston may become a reality.

“If you read the (Daily Times) newspaper article, we went ahead and sent the joint report to FEMA. The only thing left in the flood protection certification is the repair of this (sinkhole),” Allen said. “A purchase order has been issued and they’re ready to go. We’re just appropriating the money tonight.”

Council voted to amend the amount then passed the measure 5-0.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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