Fresno County moves ahead to open Kings River

FRESNO, Calif.

Construction contractors and county public works officials met under Goodfellow Bridge to take a look at just what it's going to take to remove steel beams that were pounded into the river bottom during construction of the bridge and left behind.

Bob Servadio from Ag construction in Clovis says his company may bid on the job. "Just gonna have to push a dam out into the river and get out with excavators and a hammer and vibrate them all out."

And it won't be easy.

"They're originally 40 foot piles, so they are probably a good 25 feet in the ground," Servadio said. "So you'll pull them up a ways, then cut them off, then pull them up a ways then cut them off."

The county says the original contractor on the $4 million bridge job is Rising Sun Construction of Exeter. The county says the company was supposed to pull most of the pilings out, but instead cut them off. Underwater video shows, the pilings are just poking above the river bottom now, but once the river flow increases dramatically and washes the silt away they could be more prominent, and a hazard.

Dale Siemer with the Fresno County Public Works Department said, "We don't want anybody to get snagged, cut, we don't want anybody to take out the bottom of their boat on one of these piles."

The county figures this job could cost half a million dollars, they are trying to collect from the bridge builder.

Fresno County Administrator, John Navarette told ABC30, "And we've been trying to get this resolved with the original contractor to no success, at this point, it's most likely leading to some degree of litigation."

The county wants to get this stretch of the river open for recreational use as soon as possible and the contractors want to get to work before the water gets any higher.

Servadio explained, "The sooner the better because irrigation starts real soon and the river will come up probably twice as high as it is now."

The crowds usually start coming to this stretch of river around Memorial Day, but the county's goal is to have the river safe and open by the 4th of July.

Fresno County is looking at ways to speed up the process, but is bound by legal requirements in taking bids to clean up the job they say was not done right.

The bridge builder, rising sun construction maintains they did nothing wrong.

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