Contractor to fix cracks on Port Angeles' months-old esplanade; other issues a matter of maintenance, city officials say
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Engineer Steve Zenovic of Zenovic & Associates, left, explains how cracks have occurred on facing tiles on the esplanade waterfront project to Nathan West, economic development department director; Corey Delikat, city parks department director; and City Councilwoman Sissi Bruch during a tour of the project last week.
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Seeping material leaves streaks on facing tiles and the esplanade walkway. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News.
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City officials are working with Carlsborg-based Primo Construction, the main contractor on the city’s downtown esplanade project, to replace cracked colored tiles along the esplanade’s main seating areas, shown here. Photo by Jeremy Schwartz/Peninsula Daily News.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — Vertical cracks running through colored tiles that adorn the new downtown esplanade will be up to the contractor on the project to fix, while other complaints are a matter of maintenance, city officials said last week.

“It's something we have more work to do on, but it's something that's covered by warranty,” said Nathan West, the city's community and economic development director.

Craig Fulton, the city's public works and utilities director, said Friday the city is discussing with Carlsborg-based Primo Construction, the main contractor on the esplanade project, when and how the cracked tiles will be addressed.

'See for themselves'

“We just brought this to Primo's attention, so they need to go out to the site and see for themselves,” Fulton said, adding that the fixes will come at no extra cost to the city because of the warranty agreement.

City officials, who toured the project Thursday, became aware of the cracks soon after City Councilwoman Sissi Bruch raised other concerns Feb. 4.

Bruch said she was concerned about reddish stains she had seen on the railings of the esplanade and white residue seen on some of the vertical surfaces of the seating areas.

City staff said those are a matter of city maintenance rather than issues Primo Construction would address.

Corey Delikat, the city's parks and recreation director, said his department has been allowed between $8,000 and $10,000 in city funds for a seasonal maintenance worker, expected to start this summer, who would focus on esplanade upkeep.

The $4 million esplanade project, completed in September, consists of a concrete promenade running just over the water parallel to Railroad Avenue, widened sidewalks and improved surfaces of both the avenue and Oak Street.

The vertical cracks run through tiles in five areas, all where major joints in the concrete construction run from the walking surface to Railroad Avenue.

Fulton said this is where cracks would be expected because the joints are where the concrete is designed to flex as it settles.

Steve Zenovic of Zenovic & Associates, one of the design firms on the esplanade project, said the tiles would be replaced and reapplied so the mortar that adheres them to the vertical face of the esplanade will run across the concrete joint.

This will ensure that if more cracks occur through concrete settling, they will run across the mortar and not the tiles themselves, he said.

Stained stainless steel

Staining on railings can be cleaned off with a preparation for stainless steel, West said.

The steel is designed to resist corrosion from salt water, West said, though staining can occur.

“[Stainless] steel does in fact stain, and it simply needs to be cleaned,” West said.

The white residue that forms on much of the esplanade's seating areas remains after water seeping through the dark-gray, porous concrete blocks evaporates, Zenovic said.

The substance can be cleaned off with water or light cleaning products, Zenovic added.

The council did not release a retainage bond — 5 percent of the contract amount — because of concerns raised by Bruch.

A retainage bond is generally held until a company completes various administrative tasks, such as providing the city proof that its subcontractors have been paid, Fulton said.

Primo has done that, Fulton said, and city staff will request that council members accept the esplanade project as complete and release the bond at Tuesday's council meeting.

The meeting will take place in the council chambers at City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.


Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at

Last modified: February 15. 2014 6:06PM
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