Company faces steep fines for bridge delay

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is levying fines against Judy Construction of Cynthiana, Ky., the firm in charge of the bridge-replacement project at Locust Creek on Hwy. 36.

According to Judy’s contract with District 6, Hwy. 36 was supposed to be reopened to traffic by Saturday, June 8, and the entire project was to be completed by June 30.

Inclement weather and equipment failure during the project have caused delays. Last week, Morgan Judy, executive vice president of the construction company, said he expected the bridge and the realigned section of highway to reopen July 3.

As of June 9, the state has instituted a fine of $2,000 per day while the highway remains closed, said Nancy Wood, public information officer for District 6. If the project is not done by June 30, the state will levy an additional $2,400-per-day fine on the company.

That could mean fines of more than $60,000 for the company.

Wood said that there were some factors that could reduce the fine, such as errors by state engineers in the design plans that would require change orders for the project. But, “we don’t foresee any change orders,” she said.

Fines are set at the discretion of the state’s project team, Wood explained, adding that her office has fielded numerous complaints from area residents and others frustrated by the delay.

“We’re frustrated, too,” she said. “We’re trying to deal with it the best we can and stay on top of the contractors.”

Whether or not the impositions of fines will change Judy Construction’s timeline for completing the project is unclear. Calls to Morgan Judy for comment were unreturned by press time Tuesday.


Other project updates

Hinkle Contracting Co. of Paris, Ky., has started work to replace the intersection of U.S. 42 and Hwys. 227/36 (Park Avenue) in Carrollton.

“The intersection will be replaced with new concrete,” said Rob Hans, chief engineer for District 6. Once completed, “this section of roadway will be more durable and provide a safer and smoother ride for all those who travel through this intersection.”

Cost of the project is $664,560.

Lane closures will begin at 9 p.m. each Friday until 5 a.m. the following Monday throughout the project, which, weather permitting, is to be completed Aug. 1.

Crews also closed the ramps at Exit 44 on Interstate 71 from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday, June 10-11, for repaving. Wood said that project was expected to be completed on time.

Finally, the repaving of I-71 northbound and southbound, between mile markers 38-56 (the Carroll-Trimble county line to Sparta) continues. That project began last fall. Wood said transportation officials expect that project to be completed by Labor Day.