Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2006

More Background on Smith & Johnson

In an online article published today in the Engineering News-Record, more details surfaced about Smith & Johnson, who earlier this month defaulted on their contract to build Section 54C of the Findlay Connector. S&J had won the contract with a bid of $45.7 million which was $6 million less than seven other bids. They had been on the job for 22 motnhs and nearly 2/3rds ($30.7 million) of the adjusted $47 million contract was paid by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

It does appear that Smith & Johnson is out of business.

Near the end of the article, some new and interesting details are revealed:
In 1997, the National Labor Relations Board described Smith & Johnson as a “disadvantaged minority business enterprise headquartered in Columbus, Ohio” and “primarily engaged in heavy highway (bridge, culvert, and roadway excavation as well as installation of guard rails) construction in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia.” The case involved a complaint against the…

Roxbury, NY store visit

Wednesday, I headed down to our Roxbury, New York store. Roxbury is located near the Catskills and is our most rural store in District 10. (New York and New England).

Route:

Down: NY 7, I-88, NY 145, NY 30.
Back: NY 30, I-88, NY 7.

Accomplishments: Added new mileage to NY 145. (I-88 to NY 30)

Notes: As a result of fears to a possible failure of the Gilboa Dam in Schoharie County, there are now Flood Evacuation Route signs throughout NY 30. An example of such below.



The Schoharie Creek Valley is a great drive espescially from Middleburgh to Gilboa. NY 30 has access to two state parks, Max V. Shaul and Mine Kill. There is also access to the Mine Kill Falls Overlook but that was closed. NY 30 crosses over the Schoharie numerous times and there is also a Parking/Viewing area south of Middleburgh.

Another great stop is in North Blenheim, which is home to the Blenheim Covered Bridge. The bridge which was built in 1855 is the longest standing single span covered bridge at 228 feet. It is also o…

PA: Contractor defaults...work stopped on Findlay Connector

Construction on the southern two and a half miles of the Findlay Connector, which will connect US 22 to PA 60 and the Pittsburgh Airport, has ground to a halt recently. The reason, the contractor, Smith and Johnson, was declared in default by the PA Turnpike commission as a result of Smith and Johnson's financial woes. See article in today's Post-Gazette.

Smith and Johnson was awarded the contract to build Section 54C which runs from US 22 near Bavington to just north of Bald Knob Road. The contract included interchanges at US 22 and Bald Knob Road. According to the Post-Gazette article: Section 54C is 65 percent complete while Sections 54A and 54B are 77 and 76 percent complete, respectively. Most of the troubles began in the fall. And although a bridge carrying Candor Road over US 22 was demolished in late January, Smith and Johnson was pulling out from the construction site. On January 18, the Turnpike Commission offered the company a chance to right the ship, but those effo…

PA: Contractor defaults on Findlay Connecter contract....construction at a pause

Construction on the southern two and a half miles of the Findlay Connector, which will connect US 22 to PA 60 and the Pittsburgh Airport, has ground to a halt recently. The reason, the contractor, Smith and Johnson, was declared in default by the PA Turnpike commission as a result of Smith and Johnson's financial woes. See article in today's Post-Gazette.

Smith and Johnson was awarded the contract to build Section 54C which runs from US 22 near Bavington to just north of Bald Knob Road. The contract included interchanges at US 22 and Bald Knob Road. According to the Post-Gazette article: Section 54C is 65 percent complete while Sections 54A and 54B are 77 and 76 percent complete, respectively. Most of the troubles began in the fall. And although a bridge carrying Candor Road over US 22 was demolished in late January, Smith and Johnson was pulling out from the construction site. On January 18, the Turnpike Commission offered the company a chance to right the ship, but those effo…

Lindsay Graham's op/ed on I-73 Tolls

In Today's Myrtle Beach Sun News, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham (R-Seneca) has an op/ed on the recent I-73 Toll Bill passed by the State Legislature and signed by Gov. Mark Sanford.

He writes approvingly of the decision that allows tolls to be the funding for I-73 in South Carolina, and congradulates all those involved in the process. Supporters will see this article as proof that the decision by the legislators sends a message to Washington that the state will have funding for the road, and that Senator Graham will be a loud champion of it.

Detractors, and rightfully so, will point out that Senator Graham as well as Senator DeMint had offered to cutback the $81 million in SAFETEA-LU funding last fall. This was obviously only a political move that both Senator's even said would not happen.

See: First Post and Update of 2006!

Nelson County, Virginia gets their first traffic light

Adam Froehlig passed along an article to me today about Nelson County, Virginia getting their first ever traffic signal. It will be on US 29 in Lovingston and will be functional sometime in March of this year. It is also the first traffic light on US 29 from Madison Heights to Charlottesville. Coincidentally, a McDonalds has recently opened in Lovingston which is the first fast food restaurant to open in Nelson County.

If you have ever been on this stretch of US 29, you will have to say it is extremely beautiful. It rolls through gorgeous country side. The Blue Ridge Mountains are to your east. In Lovingston, Peebles Mountain (elv. 1826') rises above the small village for a dramatic scene. US 29 through this part of Virginia is one of my all time favorite drives. I usually try to pop a Dave Matthews CD in through here and the music almost always fits perfectly.

I found it amazing that this would be Nelson County's first traffic signal. It is amazing that the county has gone th…

I-73 Toll Bill Passes ... is it a tax?

Last week, the SC Senate came to a resolution on the I-73 Toll Bill, and passed the measure. Gov. Mark Sanford is expected to sign it. The I-95 admendment was dropped, so the bill only opens up the toll possibility for Interstate 73. Supporters of the bill see this as a big statement showing the US Congress that South Carolina is serious about looking for ways to fund the construction of the $2 billion project.

Does this mean I-73 will have Toll Booths? - No, it does not. The bill only allows tolling as a possible - not definite - funding source. The bill does not form a Toll Authority, it does not give any bond amount, it does not state any locations for toll booths, and it does not legislate any toll amount.

Opponents to the toll bill point out that the toll is the same as a tax. Andy Brack, who publishes the S.C. State House Report has editorialized about the passed bill, here. He points his viewpoint out most clearly here:
But remember it's a toll, which is just a glorified way…