Elevators to Nowhere – The Death March Isn’t Over

It may have been expensive, but it sure was unnecessary…

Two years ago FFFF ran a series of posts based on the observations of “Fullerton Engineer” about the ludicrous elevators addition to the existing bridge at the Depot. Nobody wanted this project except for city staff and only because the dime was somebody else’s. And so a strange bureaucratic odyssey began with fits and starts of activity to waste $4,000,000 of transit money doled out by distant agencies. Then in 2017 the monster was shocked back to life with an infusion of $600,000 of Fullerton’s own cash. Ouch. Let’s let our Friend, Fullerton Engineer take it from here:

It appears as if the depot elevator project is grinding to a conclusion: the elevator foundations and steel are finally done and the traction elevators are almost complete. Are congratulations in order? Not quite, although I suspect there will be a victory celebration and ribbon cutting and back-pats all around when the City Council takes its first expensive elevator ride.

A construction sequence that should have taken perhaps seven months has dragged on for two years. That’s right – two years. No one in charge seems to have offered any explanation, probably because no one in authority has ever asked for any. As I noted in the spring of 2017, the request for more money was shrouded in double talk and obscurantism. Somebody was hiding something.

Over the past two years as I have driven by the site it was more likely that I saw no one working as when I did. So what were all those people who were being paid, and well paid, to oversee this fiasco doing? Who knows? Have delay claim change orders ever been processed? Have they been rejected? Is a lawsuit coming or is it just going to end in a feeding frenzy on a complicit public agency? PRA requests may shed light on this disaster, if in fact they are not ignored by the city’s lawyer.

Don Hoppe, our former City Engineer has disappeared into a well-pensioned retirement. His replacement, a professionally unqualified bureaucrat will take no heat for this embarrassment. It’s no-fault government¬† where the taxpayer foots the bill.

— The Fullerton Engineer


5 Replies to “Elevators to Nowhere – The Death March Isn’t Over”

  1. They will finish the elevator and then close off the steps cause they are falling apart also. Was there this morning and felt like it was going to fall apart. Should of taken a picture of them.

  2. Make a PRA request to see the certified payroll of the workers. The CA Dept. of Industrial Relations, OCTA, and City should have them and they can redact the sensitive stuff like workers’ SS numbers. At least then you will see who (or how many people) worked onsite (number of hours) and their wages.

    1. The problem is why weren’t workers working straight through to finish the job in a timely manner. The piles and foundations should have been built while the steel was being ordered and fabricated, Steel erection and welding should have been done within a month, etc. Two years is a fantastically long time for such a simple project. This one didn’t even need a bridge. Something, probably several things plagued this job – again.

      The challenge is to find out what. The only way is to review delay claims by the contractor and delay notices by the owner. I doubt that we will ever be able to see them – pending litigation, etc.

      The contractor has a built-in “General Conditions” amount in his bid and contract payments. This job should have run out of money over a year ago. What kept it going?

  3. I’m not going to ask “why maintain the old elevator when you can just build another?”, I’m asking “why not build another set of stairs too?”

  4. The money and labor could have been used to eradicate the “pigeon tunnels” underneath the tracks of various Fullerton street underpasses and make them into cleaner concrete underpasses similar to the one on Gilbert.

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