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

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway (in the making since 1947)

On September 15, 2022, the Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway opened in the city of Modesto from California State Route 99 west to North Dakota Avenue.  Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway was built upon a corridor which was tentatively to designated to become the branching point for Interstate 5W in the 1947 concept of the Interstate Highway System.  The present California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor was adopted by the California Highway Commission on June 20, 1956.  Despite almost being rescinded during the 1970s the concept of the California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor lingered on for over half a century and became likely the oldest undeveloped right-of-way owned by California Transportation Commission.  Pictured above is the planned California State Route 132 freeway west of US Route 99 in Modesto as featured in the May/June 1962 California Highways & Public Works.   The history of the California State Route

Aptos Creek Road to the Loma Prieta ghost town site

Aptos Creek Road is a roadway in Santa Cruz County, California which connects the community of Aptos north to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Parks.  Aptos Creek Road north of Aptos is largely unpaved and is where the town site of Loma Prieta can be located.  Loma Prieta was a sawmill community which operated from 1883-1923 and reached a peak population of approximately three hundred.  Loma Prieta included a railroad which is now occupied by Aptos Creek Road along with a spur to Bridge Creek which now the Loma Prieta Grade Trail.  The site of the Loma Prieta Mill and company town burned in 1942.   Part 1; the history of Aptos Creek Road and the Loma Prieta town site Modern Aptos traces its origin to Mexican Rancho Aptos.  Rancho Aptos was granted by the Mexican Government in 1833 Rafael Castro.  Rancho Aptos took its name from Aptos Creek which coursed through from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey Bay.  Castro initially used Rancho Aptos to raise cattle for their hides.  Following