YORK — firstname.lastname@example.org
County and state transportation engineers still expect the S.C. 5 Bypass widening project will be completed by the end of the year despite the need for repairs on some of the work.
At this point, those issues have not caused the contractor to ask for a time extension, York County engineer Phil Leazer said.
Jason Johnston, a state Department of Transportation district engineer, said hes comfortable with a November completion deadline. Other sections of the road are still being tested for similar problems, he said.
The 5.1-mile widening to five lanes from S.C. 161 to S.C. 5 West is part of the countys Pennies for Progress road program. It was approved on the first list of projects in 1997. The project was renewed by voters a second time in 2003 and again last year.
Because of cost overruns and other problems, however, work on the bypass widening didnt begin until about 18 months ago.
A couple hundred feet of roadway on a one-lane section just west of the S.C. 49 intersection, near the approach to York Comprehensive High School has cracked and shown signs of early deterioration, Leazer said.
Leazer initially said the problem might cause a three-month delay. However, both Leazer and Johnston said that they work with the contractor daily and no need for an extension has been discussed.
York Mayor Eddie Lee said local economic development has been affected, noting that a fast-food restaurant that had planned to open on the bypass has moved elsewhere because of the road project delays.
Leazer and Johnston both said the road material wasnt mixed properly. Boggs Paving of Monroe, N.C., primary contractor for the $11.5 million bypass widening project, has acknowledged the problem and agreed to fix it, they said.
There is no smoking gun, said Johnston. Its not something were proud of as engineers, you dont want to build things twice.
Johnston said York County has poor soils, so the road is built over a base that is a mixture of cement and rock. He said tests by the DOT suggest that the base mixture was not properly blended.
Since the problem arose, Johnston said, that type of base material is no longer being used on road projects in any of the seven counties he oversees.
Other sections of the road widening might need repairs, as well, due to the breakdown of the road base, Johnston said, but initial tests have shown that the problem is not as severe elsewhere as it is on the section of road in front of the high school.