FARMINGDALE — After a potentially dangerous divot is corrected on Northern Avenue next week by contractors, construction season finally will end in Farmingdale — for a few months.

After a tense-at-times meeting and a handshake, selectmen and officials from Wayne-based contractor C.H. Stevenson Inc. reached an agreement at a special meeting Wednesday to fix the divot, leave the asphalt as it is and have the town credited about $5,000 for surface paving that was not done.

The work is scheduled to be done Monday, but selectmen waived the prior Nov. 14 deadline in case weather hampers the crew. The payment for the job, which was being withheld, probably will be released later that week, according to Selectman Jim Grant.

The special selectmen’s meeting, which lasted about 30 minutes, was attended by C.H. Stevenson Project Manager Adam Lake, his company’s insurance representative Darby Erickson, Road Commissioner Steve Stratton, and project engineer Jim Coffin, of E.S. Coffin Engineering and Surveying. No action was taken in the form of a motion, but the agreement will be signed by all of the selectmen once it is finalized.

The trouble dates back to Sept. 5, when selectmen called into question the quality of paving done as part of a “drainage modification” job on Northern Avenue by a C.H. Stevenson subcontractor, Leeds-based A.W. Bachelder and Sons.

The section of Northern Avenue in question is a 900-foot stretch between Lindsey Lane and Rutabeggar Lane. A divot is noticeable to drivers heading west toward Hallowell-Litchfield Road. The selectmen said the divot rocked westbound cars from right to left, toward the centerline. With temperature dropping and winter looming, the board thought it could cause more accidents.

On Oct. 31, the board agreed to tell the Wayne-based contractor to remove improper materials used on the job and correct the work as laid out in the contract. Lake hit back the next day, calling those claims “ludricrous” and saying his company had performed adequate work — aside from the divot, which he agreed to fix. Lake said Wednesday that the divot was caused by shoddy grading — or the process of making a level base for the road.

The original contract called for 19-millimeter asphalt mix — the unit of measure refers to the width of stones in the mix — and a 9-millimeter mix for the surface. Currently, 12.5 millimeters is the size of stones in the surface layer, which Lake said is “the industry standard” when leaving binder over the winter, because less water can penetrate the pavement and cause cracking when it freezes.

Lake argued that project changes stemming from a separate job to be done on the same stretch of road changed the type of materials used. In July, the town put a project out to bid to pave parts of Northern Avenue that included the stretch between Lindsey Lane and Rutabeggar Lane.

Lake said that contract called for 12.5-millimeter binder, and then the town would be responsible for the surface coat, so C.H. Stevenson did not surface their portion and put down that type of binder instead of what it was contracted to put down. That paving project, however, received no bids after being advertised twice, and it fell through.

“What I put in matched the specifications for the grinding and overlay job that was supposed to be done this summer,” Lake said.

Stratton said he and Lake spoke about leaving the surface layer off when the July paving project was advertised. In August, he recalled telling Lake in person to put the surface coat on during a conversation, but Lake said he did not recall that conversation. Neither selectmen nor C.H. Stevenson representatives could point to a document sent by a town official that instructed Lake to do so.

Selectwoman Nancy Frost said they assumed a town official — either Stratton or Town Clerk Rose Webster — was in contact with the contractors after their comments at meetings.

“I have been griping about this since the day you did it,” she said.

Coffin said the agreement was in the best interest of both parties and, generally, work done on the road met design specifications he laid out in the plans.

“The 12.5 should be left in the winter, no matter what happens,” he said. “I have no dog in the fight here.”

Lake said the credit for surface paving left off the road would be about $5,000, based on an estimate of $15,000 for the paving job, which he says is two-thirds complete without the final layer. Because of falling temperature, the surface probably could not be paved this year.

Town officials expect to sign the official agreement Nov. 14 at the next regular selectmen’s meeting.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME

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