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Contractors Stop Work On I-69
Updated September 7, 2016 7:49 AM | Filed under: Transportation
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(BLOOMINGTON) - Crider & Crider Inc., the contractor responsible for earth-moving operations related to upgrading 21 miles of Ind. 37 between Bloomington and Martinsville to interstate standards, ceased work on Section 5 of I-69 project Monday.

Don Conard, superintendent with Crider & Crider told Michael Reschke of the Herald Times the work is related to Isolux Corsan USA not meeting payment deadlines, something that has happened before this past winter and again in March when the company did not receive payment.

The Indiana Finance Authority issued a notice of nonperformance to I-69 Development Partners on March 31 after several contractors were not paid in a prompt manner. The state finance authority entered into a contract with I-69 Development Partners to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the 21 miles of I-69 between Bloomington and Martinsville in February 2014.

I-69 Development Partners then contracted with Isolux to design and build Section 5 of the interstate. Isolux entered into its own, separate contracts with companies such as Crider & Crider to complete the project.

State Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington says he doesn't understand why contractors aren't being paid, since the state already sold private activity bonds to finance the project.

Officials with I-69 Development Partners told The Herald-Times in May that contract disputes between Isolux and its subcontractors that had halted some work on the project in March had been resolved. However, the expected completion date was moved from October 2016 to June 28, 2017. That delay caused Fitch Ratings to downgrade the private activity bonds the state finance authority issued on behalf of I-69 Development Partners to finance the project to junk status.

Pierce hand-delivered a letter to Gov. Mike Pence's office outlining his concerns and questions. In addition to when the project will be completed -- he heard subcontractors believe May 2018 is a more realistic date, if construction resumes quickly -- he also expressed concern about maintenance heading into the winter driving season.

He thinks the only reason the state entered into a public-private partnership for Section 5 was to mask the fact that money would have to be borrowed to complete the interstate upgrade.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Pierce had not received a response to his letter to the governor.

Pierce is not the only public official concerned about the progress on I-69. Mayor John Hamilton Tuesday afternoon scheduled a news conference for today to talk about the issue.

In the meantime, Crider & Crider's equipment is sitting idle.

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