ODOT seeks #036;30 million for Chesy bypass

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 14, 2005

PROCTORVILLE - Ohio Department of

Transportation District 9 officials plan to ask the Transportation Review Advisory Committee today for an additional $30 million today to complete work on $26.8 million Phase 1B of the Tri-State Metro Outer Belt, formerly known as the Chesapeake Bypass.

ODOT District 9 spokeswoman Kathleen Fuller said the extremely wet weather during the 2003 and 2004 construction seasons is to blame for the cost overruns and construction delays.

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"We have had 15 slips within the project zone," Fuller said. "2003 was probably the wettest on record and 2004 wasn't much better. For re-engineering and correction of the slips we're seeking additional funds. This amount ($30 million) is simply outside our budget."

Fuller said the slips have occurred both on land that is on the hillside overlooking the road bed and on the road bed itself.

The wet weather is also going to delay completion of the project. Phase 1B was scheduled for completion this summer but Fuller said such a target date is now unrealistic; the delays may add even an extra year to the project.

For those who live and drive in the eastern end of the county, discussion of hillside slips and the problems they have created is not a surprise.

"It's been talked about, we know we have these problems,

and we hope we can bring them (TRAC) members) around," Lawrence County Commissioner Jason Stephens said. "Hopefully we'll know something later on today."

The $30 million in additional funds might be a record change order for a District 9 project. Fuller said she is not aware of any project locally that required such a large amount of additional funding during construction, although other projects have required more funding that was originally planned for during the preliminary phases.

Fuller said she is hopeful the TRAC will provide the extra money.

"Once we get a project like this started, we are committed to getting it finished," she said. She said she is not sure when TRAC will make its decision.

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

During Phase 1A, a roadway was built extending state Route 607 from the 31st Street/East Huntington Bridge to Irene Road East. The $6.58 million Phase 1A project was completed in the spring of 2003. It was also delayed by wet weather.