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‘Public pressure’: It’ll cost builder $1,800 a day until this Rock Hill road is done.

Each day McConnells Highway isn’t done costs time for drivers in the area. Now, time is costing its builder money.

“I understand this project is still going on,” said Patrick Hamilton, manager of York County’s Pennies for Progress. “We’re aware of the issue. We’ve had some talks with the contractor expressing our disappointment with the schedule.”

The county also expressed to the builder how much the delays are going to cost.

“We are charging $1,800 a day that he goes over the contract time,” Hamilton said. “The contract time has been adjusted to account for some utility delays, some weather delays.”

Hamilton updated the Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Study policy committee on McConnells Highway and other work on May 17. He expressed frustration with how long work has taken at McConnells Highway. He and York County Councilman Britt Blackwell, who represents the area, mentioned getting considerable community feedback.

“We’ve told him to get it completed as soon as he can,” Hamilton said. “That we’re charging him, and getting public pressure.”

The original target for completion was spring of 2018. It was delayed a year. The contractor now is telling Hamilton it should be done by the end of June, but Hamilton is skeptical.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes into July,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton told the RFATS group the county and contractor worked well together prior to the project.

“This contractor has been one of the better contractors we’ve used in the past,” Hamilton said.

The $14.8 million project to widen McConnells Highway to three lanes from S.C. 901 to Falls Road made the list county voters approved in 2003. Four projects from that 2003 haven’t been complete, or were rolled into another project. Eagle Construction Company won the bid to build at McConnells Highway, as the company has for eight total Pennies projects since the cent sales tax program began in 1997.

Eagle Construction worked on many of the larger projects in the county, including S.C. 5 West, S.C. 274 and Fort Mill’s northern and southern bypasses. Overall budgets for projects Eagle Construction built total more than $150 million.

Hamilton said utility relocation and wet weather were two reasons the McConnells work has taken so long. The builder had other work lined up before those delays, Hamilton said, and squeezed too much construction into too little an opportunity to do it. Hamilton said the $1,800 a day is being charged now, but not from the original estimated completion date.

“There was about a year’s worth of utility delays,” Hamilton said. “The original completion was April 2018, then it was bumped to April 2019. And since then we’re applying liquidated damages.”

On one end of the work sits an already completed $2.4 million intersection improvement where Falls and Eastview roads intersect McConnells. On the opposite end is a completed widening of Cherry Road from S.C. 5 to S.C. 901 at $4.8 million. Both of those projects, like the ongoing widening, are Pennies-funded.

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