Avon Lake

The city’s new salt barn is finally on its way to completion after several months of starts and stops.

Engineering and service Director Joe Reitz said the company responsible for building the new salt barn, Miller Builders, sent a crane out last week to finish the construction of the 3,000-ton salt barn at the service department. The city contracted with the company in July 2013, but after numerous delays, the company missed its October 2013 deadline to finish its work. Reitz said he sent a letter to Miller’s bonding company to add some pressure.

Speaking on Feb. 12, Reitz said the company was only about three to five days away from finishing the barn.

“The rest of this week and next week, there’s no extreme cold coming,” he said. “There’s no reason they can’t get out there to get finished. They finished the walls in December and brought the trusses out in January and started assembling them. They haven’t physically put anything up.”

The company just needs to send out a crane to finish the job, he said, but he’s heard from the company that it’s had some trouble with its crane operator.

As of Monday morning, Reitz said the contractor was out working Thursday and Friday. The bracing should go up this week, he said, and the canvass top should be up on Wednesday.

Under the contract, there is a $200-a-business-day penalty clause, Reitz said. Once the job is complete, he said, the city will work with the company to determine whether to deduct the penalties from the final price or negotiate some add-ons.

The city’s current salt barn can hold 1,000 tons of salt, Reitz said. While salt deliveries have been steady, he said, snowstorms like any of the ones the region has recently experienced can quickly eat away at the supply.

“We’re close to, with the last storm, over 4,500 tons (of salt used) this year,” he said, adding there is still the rest of the month, March and part of April to go through yet.

Because of the limited size, the city can’t overstock on salt in better weather. During the past few milder winters, he said, the city was able to keep its salt supply up, even to the point of having to pay a storage fee to its supplier, Cargill, for the excess it couldn’t keep on-site. The city of Avon allowed Avon Lake to store some of its salt at the Avon service department’s salt barn without charge last year, he said.

With the new barn, however, he said, the city will be able to stock up in milder weather and not have to depend on the deliveries when salt is in high demand during harsh winters.

“The new barn is over 3,000 tons,” he said. “It can hold two-thirds of our yearly capacity at once.”

Contact Bryan Wroten at bwroten@2presspapers.com and @BryanWroten

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