Bypass project exceeds budget

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 3, 2004

ROME TOWNSHIP - Phase 1B of the Tri-State Metro Outer Belt project, formerly known as the Chesapeake Bypass, is going to cost the state more than what officials originally budgeted.

It may also delay the completion of the project. Officials said the weather is largely to blame for the cost overruns.

Ohio Department of Transportation District Nine spokeswoman Kathleen Fuller said that the bypass project is $2.2 million over the original contract at this time. The original price of the project was $26.8 million. She said she did not know how much additional money the project would require.

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"We do not have any further cost increases/estimates realized for repairs to be made because the projects to repair the slips have not been fully designed," Fuller said. "We are in the process of doing this at this time."

Greater Lawrence County Chamber of

Commerce Director, Dr. Bill Dingus, who is also a member of the Transportation Review Advisory Committee (TRAC ) told the Lawrence County Commission Thursday that recent heavy rains had caused hillside slips in the

bypass construction area. He said it is possible the additional work could add " many millions more" to the price tag.

"It's been a tough year for construction," Dingus said. "The soils in this region are prone to slippage. Two years ago this would not have been a problem but at least they're getting slippages now and they won't have to come back and repair it later."

"They are still committed to finishing it?" Commissioner Jason Stephens asked.

"Yes, but it is costing more," Dingus said.

Fuller said the completion date of the road work could be delayed as well.

"Also, while we do not have a revised completion date for the project, we do anticipate there to be a time extension for this project due to the repair work which has yet to be conducted, as well as due to the additional work which has already been done and which has been cause for some delay to the planned project," Fuller said. "The request for a time extension (and the granting of it) will (in all likelihood) be realized during the next couple of months as we will be working out the details to make the necessary repairs and assess the work yet which has been completed in relation to what is left to be constructed."

The original completion date of

Phase 1-B is summer 2005. Corbin, Ky.,-based Elmo Greer and Sons are building a two-lane roadway between Irene Road at Proctorville and a point near Fairland East Elementary School on State Route 7.