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Ready for spring

It's one thing to push dirt around, quite another when it comes to mud.

Local construction firms have dodged raindrops and exercised patience during the wet, drawn-out winter. In some cases, contractors will play catch up while casting a wary eye to the sky.

"We've been slowed down a bit at a couple of sites," said S&B James Construction Management President Allen Purdy. "The last five years has been a lot easier to work through, but this winter we had rain, after rain, after rain, after rain.

"The wind and rain cost us a month or so on a project where we were trying to put roofing and siding on a steel building," he said.

It took the White City company an extra two or three weeks to pour concrete at its Providence Health and Services medical office project at Stewart Meadows Village in south Medford.

"We couldn't find a wind window where we could pour concrete consistently," he said.

Adroit Construction CEO Bob Mayers said the soggy winter and damp spring, in which Medford saw 100 days of rain since Oct. 1, hindered new starts.

"It's been slow going," Mayers said. "Doing the concrete work around rainstorms has had a negative effect on our schedule and production."

The Ashland-based firm has 28 projects going at the moment, he said, and 16 to 18 of them have seen rain delays.

"They've been working some Saturdays, if they can," Mayers said.

With days getting longer, he said, Adroit crews have been putting in nine-hour days to catch up.

Purdy anticipates gaining momentum as things dry out.

"We do our best to accommodate for typical weather events," he said. "But another month or two of what we just went through and I could see problems snowballing."

The company is wrapping up an auto dealership project in Yakima, Washington, and an expansion project at Timber Products' Sage Road mill. A rehabilitation of the Medford Armory is slated for completion within the next month, he said.

"All the projects have their unique time requirements and demands, so you can't let one project affect the others."

Knife River Materials' road-building work has been hampered in multiple places, including the Highway 62 bypass.

"Phase I (near the airport) has been impacted, because it's been very muddy, wet and messy," Knife River spokesman Joel Frasieur said. "We've been holding off until things dry out."

Phase II, which begins at Agate Road near White City, has been slowed, as well.

"We're just getting started," Frasieur said. "We have a lot of dirt to move."

He said taxiway and tarmac work at the Medford airport were also put on hold.

"It's not unusual to shut that kind of project down over the winter and wait for decent weather."

Reid Murphy of R.A. Murphy Construction in Medford said the primary holdup he's faced has been the start of a five-acre commercial development on the former freeway off-ramp near Barnett Road and Stewart Avenue.

"We try to make our sites waterproof during the winter so we can continue working through the wet weather," Murphy said. "So most of our sites are in pretty good shape. If this was November, then I'd be a little concerned. But with April here and May just around the corner, I'm pretty excited, because usually the weather gets pretty cooperative this time of year."

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com.

The Providence Health and Services medical office project is under construction at Stewart Meadows Village on the corner of South Riverside and Stewart avenues. [Mail Tribune / Denise Baratta]