Queens Gap project 'challenging'

Jul. 25, 2013 @ 05:06 AM

While there are similarities between the county's work at the Grey Rock subdivision and the project at Queens Gap, the project engineer said the latest work at Queens Gap will present a challenge.

Both projects include grading and paving roads within the subdivisions are both are being paid using funds from bond settlements.

However, Queens Gap has an additional portion of the project not included in Grey Rock.

Under the terms of the bond settlement, the county will fulfill an obligation from the contractor to put a public water line at the subdivision. That is not part of the Grey Rock project.

David Odom of Odom and Associates — the engineering firm contracted by the county to handle engineering for both projects — said the water line installation will change how the road paving schedule is set.

"We will grade it, stone it but we won't pave it until after the water is put in place," Odom said. "Then we will go back and pave it. That way we can repair any issues that might come up from the utility contractor working on the water and that contractor will be on the hook for what might need to be done."

The county is working with the Broad River Water Authority to provide water to the Queens Gap subdivision.

Odom said the bidding process will be similar to that of the Grey Rock project. The bids will come in phases instead of the county taking one large project bid. Odom said the estimated cost for the water line installation is nearly $40 million.

"We anticipate following a similar process to Grey Rock in that every six weeks we will move forward," Odom said.

County Commissioner Bill Eckler said he wanted to ensure local contractors had the same ability to bid on Queens Gap as with Grey Rock.

"We will follow all the public bid requirements," Odom said. "It is a benefit to the local contracts that we do the project the way we do because it lessens the bond requirements."

In October 2012, Rutherford County received a settlement from Lexon Insurance Company that ended a claim against Devinshire Land Development, LLC for its alleged breach of contract for development of the Queens Gap subdivision.

Under the terms of the settlement, the county will receive $12.1 million from performance bonds issued by Lexon on behalf of Devinshire to finish infrastructure work at the development site, located off of U.S. 64/74 near Lake Lure.

The settlement is similar to one the county reached with a bonding company that issued performance bonds for the Grey Rock development, also near Lake Lure.

The settlement includes both Phase I and Phase II of the Queens Gap development. Under the settlement resolution approved by commissioners, a trial date regarding Phase III bonds will be postponed to determine if there is a potential settlement for that phase and whether the resolution for Phase I and Phase II will affect the county's claims to Phase III.

The county had immediate access to $350,000 of the settlement for engineering and legal fees. The remainder of the bond settlement became available in March 2013.

"This is going to be a challenging project from the financing aspect," Odom said. "I think we might have to value engineer the steps of the project to make sure we are on budget."