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After months of holding their tongues on slowdowns that have attended the Ladd Landing Greenway project, Kingston City Council members let loose with a barrage of concerns at a work session on May 7.
Unfortunately, engineer Kent Olson of Vaughn and Melton was the only one present to field the complaints.
Olson was at the meeting as a fill-in for Danl Hall, the man who is actually the chief engineer on the project. Thus, he was unable to answer council’s sometimes-pointed questions as to why the project is experiencing difficulties.
Kingston Mayor Troy Beets reported later that Hall, having gotten wind of council’s concerns, will make it a point to attend the May 14 full council session to address the issues himself.
“We’re eight to 10 months behind now on an already pushed-back deadline,” Beets said of the greenway project.
He noted that one major problem came last November, when a subcontractor, U.S. Bridge, insisted that a more expensive form of steel railing needed to be used for a planned pedestrian bridge rather than what had been approved for the existing plan.
Council refused to make a change order for the more-expensive railing.
“Since that time, there seems to have been a slowdown out there,” Beets said. “I don’t know if there’s a connection or not, but we went with the original approved design, because there’s wasn’t anything wrong with it.
“But we thought this would be done last fall, and here it is spring.”
Beets also noted that other necessary change orders on the project had been slow to get to the state for approval.
He also worried about the lack of progress on planning benches, rest areas, mile markers and other amenities for the greenway.
But Beets’ was by no means the only voice heard on the subject, nor even the loudest.
Said Councilman Tony Brown, “We’ve messed around and messed around … people are calling it a highway to nowhere. Someone needs to light a fire.”
“Who’s responsible?” asked Councilman Don White. “Who let the ball drop?”