A smart work stoppage

Published 10:28 pm Thursday, September 1, 2016

A smart work stoppage

Sometimes, even when — perhaps especially when — a job is very important, it pays to take a little extra time to make sure it’s done right, even if that means the cost will go up and the deadlines will not be met.

That’s the situation the city of Suffolk was in last week when a cemetery volunteer raised concerns about construction of a concrete stairway to replace a set of steps that had become dangerously worn at Cedar Hill Cemetery.

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Lee Hart, a member of the Tom Smith Camp Sons of Confederate Veterans, spends a lot of time at the cemetery, keeping the Confederate monument and other gravesites there clean and well maintained. During one of his visits, he noticed things about the work being done on the new steps that raised alarms.

Hart shared his concerns with others and soon City Councilman Don Goldberg had visited the site. He, too, saw the problems.

The foundation for the stairs, he and others worried, would not support the final structure. Hart had noticed that one side of the stairway was out of plumb, and he was concerned that the original concrete pillars, some of which are leaning, would not support the new concrete steps once they were poured in place.

After Goldberg’s visit, he contacted city officials and voiced the concerns he and others had about the work, which was then stopped.

Officials had hoped for the work to be done prior to Labor Day weekend, which is a popular time for people to visit the cemetery. But it is a far better thing for them to take their time and make sure the work is safe and that it will last than to hurry the process along in an attempt to get done ahead of a deadline that has little significance in the greater scheme of things.

An engineer will now be called in to help with the design — the project had been bid without design documents originally — and the bid process will be started again. The current contractor, A’more Enterprises, could be called to do the work if they’re the low bidder, and officials will determine at that time how to proceed with payment for the demolition work that already has been done.

It would have been nice to have had the project complete for the holiday weekend, but stopping the project was a smart move by the city.