AMES, Iowa — A construction error is delaying completion of a new exit ramp for northbound Interstate 35 motorists in central Iowa.
Iowa Transportation Department engineer Scott Dockstader told KCCI-TV that support beam piers for the new westbound exit onto U.S. Highway 30 at Ames were built too high. Workers have to jackhammer off the tops and pour new concrete to the correct height.
The mistake was likely caused by elevation issues during a construction survey and anchor sleeves shifting when concrete was poured, Dockstader said.
Dockstader said the error likely won't disqualify contractor Minnowa Construction from future Iowa projects. He said "all projects are complex, so we have issues with all contractors across the state."
Minnowa co-owner Keith Bruening acknowledges the mistake and said the company is trying to determine how the error occurred.
The bridge project had a completion date scheduled for the end of the year. It's unclear how long it'll now take the company to finish with the latest delay.
Minnowa, which is based in rural Harmony, Minnesota, must forfeit $5,500 for each day the project is delayed. There is no additional cost to Iowa taxpayers.
"It's a bid item," Dockstader said. "If they have additional costs for the repair work that wasn't our responsibility, it's just additional costs they have that will come out of their project's costs."
Transportation department officials said the bridge will be a beneficial addition to the Ames area and the repaired bridge piers will be just as safe as the original concrete piers.
"We're confident that the bridge piers will be structurally sound and safe," Dockstader said.