Greenville mayor says contractor facing fines for roadwork delays
By Ginger Livingston
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
The City of Greenville will begin levying a daily $1,000 fine against the company rebuilding Arlington Boulevard because of continuing delays, Mayor P.J. Connelly announced on Facebook on Tuesday.
Connelly’s announcement comes four days after the city reported that work in front of J.H. Rose High School likely would extend into mid-October well past the original completion date of Aug. 15 and the Sept. 2 extension that was granted because of unexpected utility work and rain.
“Stretching out construction for an additional two months is unacceptable, especially in light of easily anticipated logistical difficulties for the return of students to Rose High,” Connelly wrote.
The City Council on May 9 awarded Fred Smith Company of Raleigh a nearly $4.5 million contract to rework a 1.25-mile section of Arlington Boulevard between Hooker Road and Greenville Boulevard.
The work was divided into two sections: Hooker Road to Evans Street, with a completion date of Aug. 15, and Hooker Road to Greenville Boulevard, with a completion date of mid-December.
After the contractor encountered unexpected utility work and rain, the city extended the completion deadline for the Hooker Road to Evans Street section to Sept. 2. Then the contractor said the work wouldn’t be completed until mid-October, Connelly said.
“To extend it out two additional months seems like an extensive amount of time as far as delays are concerned,” Connelly said. “I just think we were presented an unrealistic timeline for a project when it was approved.”
When reviewing the contract with the council on May 9, Public Works Director Kevin Mulligan said the contract allowed the contractor to work seven days a week and nights to meet its deadline.
“Time is of the essence,” Mulligan said on May 9. “We want this project done as quickly as possible.”
The project involved removing and reconstructing the road’s pavement structure, replacing aging stormwater infrastructure, improving sidewalks and making them handicapped accessible and building a greenway path and new sidewalk.
No questions about the Aug. 15 deadline were raised during the May 9 meeting. Councilman William Bell questioned if the December completion date of the second phase of the project was realistic since paving work typically stops between mid-December and mid-March.
Mulligan said the project was scheduled for completion before the asphalt plants shut down for winter.
Connelly said on Tuesday he was unsure if the contractor was going to make that mid-December deadline or what the consequences would be if it was missed.
Paving on the eastbound lanes in front of the high school was expected to be underway this week and work on the westbound lanes was expected to begin the week of Aug. 19.
When the westbound lanes close, J.H. Rose High School will be accessible from Hooke Road, where traffic will turn onto eastbound Arlington Boulevard and access the school parking lots from the entrances at the front of the school. Marvin Jarman Road will also be available for school use only with access available on Hooker Road.
"All officials involved in this project have done a great job of continuously keeping the school system informed of the progress of this project,” Pitt County Schools Superintendent Ethan Lenker said. “We are working together to determine the best options for access to J.H. Rose and will keep the community and parents informed as the opening of school draws near.