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Clinton Street reconstruction caused flooding in office building, apartments

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Dr. Moid Khan and his staff found a mess when they got to the office in the Medical Arts Building one morning a few weeks ago, with the rug and office furniture saturated with water and dozens of medical records waterlogged.

A torrential downpour Sept. 5 caused all kinds of problems with the $1.5 million reconstruction of Clinton Street going on in the two blocks around the 171 Clinton St. Medical Arts Building, said Jeffrey C. Hammond, a city engineer overseeing the project for the city. About 2.8 inches of rain fell on the city that day.

As a result of the flooding inside, the offices that Dr. Khan had occupied for more than 15 years were no longer usable. The practice was forced to relocate into another office down the hall. Dr. Khan said he also had to buy all new furniture.

“There was so much humidity, mold and moisture, we had no choice,” Dr. Khan said.

Employees of general contractor North Country Contractors had mistakenly capped a roof drainage pipe that ran underground between the Medical Arts Building and the office building next door at 161 Clinton St., causing water to back up and flood Dr. Khan’s office and a vacant pharmacy.

Construction crews also were working to correct a problem with a catch basin down the street and in front Clinton Court apartments. But Mother Nature interfered before they were able to complete that job, causing some flooding there, Mr. Hammond said.

About eight apartments sustained “more extensive damage,” said John Doldo III, who manages the two office buildings and the apartment complex for his father, John Doldo Jr. Some of those tenants also had to move into other units.

Crews from the city and the contractor worked overnight and the next day to fix the problems, City Engineer Kurt W. Hauk said. It now will be up to the contractor’s insurance company to pay for the damage, he said.

“It was one of those things,” Mr. Hauk said. “They made a mistake.”

Jeffrey E. Proulx, a co-owner of North Country Contractors, could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Doldo, who has not yet figured out how much it will cost to fix the damage, credited the city and the contractor for remaining at the scene until the problems were corrected. Making repairs to the two buildings will wait until all of the street repairs have been completed, he said.

Despite those problems, the Clinton Street project — from Washington Street to South Massey Street — is on schedule and within budget. So far, about 40 percent of the reconstruction has been completed, said Mr. Hauk, who expects the road excavation and underground work, such as sanitary sewers, to be completed soon.

If that happens, base paving will be completed to ease winter driving conditions. Work crews will have to return in the spring to do the top paving, sidewalks and finishing work.

The Clinton Street project began in early July.

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