The East Broad Street widening project at U.S. 287 will finish nearly six months late, meaning the city could fine the contractor hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time work ends this spring.
Paving for the new eastbound lanes is nearly complete and traffic could move to the new pavement by mid-February, Bart VanAmburgh, director of public works, said.
“Work in the medians and along the roadside will take another several weeks following the traffic switch,” the city said in a statement. “Barring any significant weather delays, the project is still scheduled for completion middle to late March. Hang in there. We’re in the home stretch.”
Construction started in November 2017 and was originally scheduled to open in August 2018, meaning it will open about six months late. JBL Contracting, who was paid $5.8 million for the project, lost nearly 60 days to rain in August, September and October alone said Sam Davis, President of JBL Contracting.
“The project is well behind schedule, predominantly due to the conflicts we encountered with both telephone poles and electrical lines, and of course, the weather last summer and fall and this winter,” Davis said. “We know time is of the essence on the project, and are doing everything we can to expedite its completion. We appreciate both the city’s and residents’ understanding and patience but recognize that the inconvenience has been far greater than any of us anticipated.”
There was also a delay last fall when a portion of new pavement had to be torn up because it wasn’t sloped properly for drainage. Typically, pavement is poured from the lowest point and you work your way up to make sure water will still drain, Davis said.
“With power poles in the way, and in an attempt to maintain progress on the project, we poured the north half of the street ‘backwards — we started at the high side (medians) and poured to the low side,” Davis said.
“Unfortunately, by starting at the top and working down, we had several areas that wouldn’t drain and needed to be replaced.”
Mansfield will fine JBL Contracting $1,000 for the first 10 days and $2,000 a day after that going back to August, VanAmburgh said.
But the contractor could argue that some work days were lost to weather or that utilities weren’t moved fast enough at the start of the project, which was out of their control, VanAmburgh said.
“We’ll sit down and negotiate,” VanAmburgh said. “We may have to file suit to get there.”
Davis said they will work with the city to determine what is a fair and equitable contract extension.
Mansfield is widening East Broad Street from Cannon Drive to U.S. 287 from four lanes to six lanes with a new traffic signal at Regency Parkway. Work started on the project in November 2017.
The project was jointly funded by the Mansfield Economic Development Corp. and the street bond fund. The wider road was necessary to accommodate the new Shops at Broad Street project that includes an Academy Sports + Outdoors, At Home and the Mansfield StarCenter hockey rink that opened last year.
Other retailers confirmed for the mixed-use shopping center include Belk, T.J. Maxx and Flix Brewhouse. The development will also include a 330-unit apartment complex. Smaller tenants include Starbucks, James Avery, MOD Pizza and 54th Street Grill.