Structural issues delay Smith Library project

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
Feb. 26, 2008

NORTH BRANFORD — The Edward Smith Library expansion has hit a snag as structural issues have come to light during construction, according to town officials.

The issues have delayed work on the project for a few weeks, Interim Town Manager Michael Paulhus said Monday.

Paulhus said that workers have found “unforeseen” structural issues with the existing foundation, as well as hard rock and ledge where the building is slated to expand.

“They’ve got to shore up some of those walls, and they’ve got to do what’s called underpinning in terms of the foundation,” Paulhus said. “We’ve got some issues with getting the rock and ledge out of there, but doing it in such a way that it’s not going to undermine the integrity of the existing foundation.”

In addition, a problem with the architectural drawings for the site held up some progress, but Paulhus said that concern has been addressed.

At this point in the original timeline, he said, construction should have progressed to pouring concrete for the foundation.

“We’re behind schedule now, so that’s of some concern to us,” Paulhus said. “We’ll have to watch it and monitor it closely, obviously wanting to deliver this project on time and on budget.”

Paulhus said he thinks additional costs, if there are any, will be covered by the contingency funds in the project.

Keith Goldberg, senior construction manager for PinnacleOne, the construction company for the project, said the work is now about three weeks behind schedule. But he added that he believes the construction team will make up the time during the remainder of the job.

The $5 million project is set to be completed in February 2009.

Goldberg said that workers Wednesday will start the underpinning, which will add support to the existing foundation. On Monday, he said, they are planning to start pouring the foundation.

Construction on the Smith Library began in November. The work will renovate the existing 4,500-square-foot building and add 7,300 square feet. After the Smith Library expansion is complete, work is scheduled to start on expanding the Atwater Memorial Library.

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