Contractor still has time on U.S. Highway 56 work
Despite city complaints about the progress on the widening of U.S. Highway 56, Douglas County officials say about a month remains on the contract.
City officials sent a letter to the Kansas Department of Transportation expressing concern about the lack of progress on the highway, and also the lack of workers. City utility director Terry McKinney said there were days that only a few workers were on the project site.
Keith Browning, county engineer, said the city had every right to notify KDOT about the slow progress on the project. However, he noted that about 30 days remain on the contract between KDOT and Dunbar Construction, Lawrence.
"I didn't blame the city for doing that," Browning said. "There was some feeling the contractor wasn't getting some of the entrances completed soon enough."
However, Browning said 20 days remain on the original contract and another 10 days was granted to the construction company by the state for "delays beyond their control," Brown said. Browning said Dunbar Construction hopes to have the project done within the original contract or in about 20 working days.
"The contractor is hoping to be done by the end of September," Browning said.
The widening of the highway is a state project of which the city contributed about $680,000 which includes the realignment of Sixth Street/Douglas County Road 1055 intersection with the highway as matching funds. Douglas County is providing inspection services. The project started about a year ago.
"We don't have a lot of say how the project progresses," Browning said. "We make sure what they do is up to the specifications of the job."
Bill Winegar, assistant city utility director, said progress has picked up since the letter was sent to KDOT. He hopes the project is done before the Maple Leaf Festival, Oct.21-22.
"After we wrote the letter, they picked up the pace," Winegar said. "We want it done before the Maple Leaf Festival. It will be mass confusion if it's not."