Skip to main content

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 efforts failed and the Turnpike declared them in default on February 8.

Problems in addition to falling behind schedule include shortpaying or not paying at all their subcontractors and suppliers.

This would be the third major project in two states that Smith and Johnson has pulled out of. In September of 2005, Smith and Johnson halted work on a six mile segment of a 50 mile highway called the O'Bannon Expressway in Southern Indiana. Citing unanticipated $3,000 fuel costs and began a tussle with Indiana over who should pay for the additional costs.

According to this WISH-TV news story from September 15, 2005:
Indiana Department of Transportation officials said the contractor is bound by its contract to complete the job for the price it bid and that the state has no policy for allowing fuel-cost escalations. "This is very unusual. This hasn't happened anywhere else (in the state) this year," said department spokeswoman Afua Anokwa.
The company also stopped work on a US 231 project in Rockport, Indiana at the same time. The company, as a result laid off 30 employees.

It appears that this was a ploy to get INDOT's attention. Bob Johnson, general superintendent for S &J, said in a September 16, 2005 issue of Land Line Online that it was standard procedure for other partners to absorb part of the cost.
“There is sort of a standard they’ve used in other states,” he said. “The contractor absorbs the first 20 percent. Then after that, the governing agency or the contracting agency usually helps out with the fuel cost.”
The state ordered them back to work and they obliged.

However, according to today's article...it appears the company has gone out of business.

"As far as we know, they closed down the highway construction side of their business," Mr. Agnello said. "Basically, they're out of business."
As this develops, more will be reported here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 152

Circumstance had me out in the Monterey Peninsula again this week.  Generally I try to take a route like California State Route 198 or ever County Route J1 to get across the Diablo Range but time had me in a slight bind.  That being the case I took the popular way across the Diablos on California State Route 152 via Pacheco Pass.  152 is one of infamy given it is really the primary route for truckers to get from I-5 west in San Joaquin Valley to US 101 in Salinas Valley.  After zig-zagging some accidents on/off California State Route 99 near Madera in the rural outskirts of the County bearing the same name I began my westbound trek on 152.




CA 152 is called the William Whitehurst Highway, at least it is west from CA 99.  The entire route of CA 152 in San Joaquin is an expressway aside from a small portion in the city of Los Banos.



The first junction on CA 152 is with CA 233 which is a small 4 mile highway that travels northeast to CA 99.






Next westbound CA 152 encounters the junction w…

The National Road - Ohio - Muskingum and Licking Counties

As it travels from Zanesville towards Columbus, US 40 goes through numerous small towns, changes from two to four lanes and back numerous times, but most importantly the old road keeps its rural charm.  Between Zanesville and Gratiot, there are four former alignments of the old road that can be found: just west of Zanesville, Mt. Sterling, Hopewell and Gratiot.  Most stretches are very short and can be easily recognized with names as "Old US 40", "Old National Road" or some combination of the two.

Zanesville:
Just west of US 40's interchange with Interstate 70 (Exit 152) runs an old alignment.

Mt. Sterling:
Another old alignment goes through this small Muskingum County village.
Hopewell:
Today, US 40 passes south of the community of Hopewell.  The old two lane road is known as Hopewell National Road.
Gratiot:
Old US 40 is known as Main Street in this tiny village of 200 or so residents.  The old highway at times seems forgotten through here.
Just west of Gratiot, US 40 …

Throwback Thursday - October 12, 2017

In this week's edition of Throwback Thursday, we travel back to December 2003 to the southern end of Interstate 99 in Bedford, Pennsylvania, where we can see button copy guide signage for US 30 and US 220 (US 220 runs concurrent with I-99 through this part of the Keystone State). Since I-99 was relatively new at the time, it feels like it was an afterthought.