The City of Lafayette has been struggling to reopen the John T. Myers pedestrian bridge for the last two months, but has been thwarted by uncooperative weather, structural issues and delivery problems.
Now, it can add sub-par workmanship to that list. Sloppily-made railings for the bridge arrived two weeks ago, and it was immediately apparent they couldn’t be installed until they were repaired, pushing the opening date to mid-October at the earliest.
According to Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski, the custom railings arrived sporting chipped paint, pockmarks and sloppy welds. He says even though it's inconvenient and frustrating, he'd rather be slow and correct than fast and careless:
"We want to get the highest quality we can for what we’re paying for, and we don’t want to accept an inferior product or a product with design problems," he says.
In addition to being aesthetically unpleasing, the railings had welding and joining issues that could pose a potential safety hazard to pedestrians.
The city contracted with construction company Rieth-Riley for the renovations, which then ordered the railings from a separate supplier.
John Yadon, the company’s area manager, declined to name the manufacturer, but says his firm will be working with a different party to make repairs.
"What we have is a very good team that we've put together, everyone in the team, from the top down to the bottom, is committed to getting it right," Yadon says.
The cost of the repairs will be absorbed by the construction company and its subcontractors. The city won’t have to pay, except for lost time -- Roswarski says Purdue Football’s annual Boiler Bridge Walk won’t happen this year.