Published Wednesday, September 12, 2012
By JOHN A. WINTERS
Show of hands for those who are beyond the “frustrated” stage with construction on the Highway 34 bypass.
So ... basically everyone. Thank you. You may lower your hands.
Newnan City Council members raised their hands, too. And on Tuesday took the additional step of firing off a letter to David Millen, District III engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The letter included words and phrases like “sporadic,” “painfully watched,” “routinely struggled,” “unacceptable” and “poor performance.”
And to top it off, council went on record as opposing any additional time extension for the current contract.
The $23 million project, begun in August 2009, was supposed to be completed Dec. 31, 2011. The contractor, Sunbelt Structures, received an extension through Jan. 27 because of weather issues and a subcontractor going out of business.
“They (Sunbelt) are scheduled to be completed in early fall, and they are being assessed damages,” said Kimberly Larson, spokeswoman for DOT. Those damages began Jan. 27.
The Newnan letter authorized Tuesday during council’s meeting stated: “Members of this council, along with citizens of our city, have painfully watched as the contractor, Sunbelt Structures Inc., has routinely struggled to keep this project on schedule and has yet to demonstrate the ability and/or desire to complete this project in a timely and profession mannerâ ¦
“The poor performance has resulted in confusion among the traveling public, disruption of local businesses, and unsightly conditions all along the bypass,” City officials state in the letter. “We consider this unacceptable performance by Sunbelt Structures Inc.”
The letter went on to say council members understood DOT officials were frustrated as well, adding “we respectfully request that your office utilize any and all remedies available under law to see that Sunbelt Structures Inc. allocates the necessary resources to complete this project immediately.”
The letter concluded with a request that DOT deny any further time extension and that Newnan officials “support all action by GDOT and your office to ensure prompt completion of this project.”
Copies of the letter also are being sent Keith Golden, DOT commissioner; Johnny Floyd, chairman of the State Transportation Board; Sam Welborn, 3rd Congressional District board member; and state Reps. Lynn Smith and Billy Horne and state Sen. Mike Crane, R-28th District.
The total project consists of widening of the bypass from two to four lanes, from Highway 16/Carrollton Highway to Highway 34/ Bullsboro Drive. There will be three new traffic lights: at Hospital Road, Hillwood Circle and Postal Parkway.