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Maugans Avenue upgrades likely to be done by end of Oct.

October 02, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Improvements to Maugans Avenue between U.S. 11 and Interstate 81 should be largely finished by the end of October, Washington County Public Works Deputy Director Robert J. Slocum said Tuesday.

The project to widen the road began in April 2007 and was scheduled to finish in July 2008, but sinkholes and other problems extended the finish date by three months.

Five change orders and other delays have increased the project's estimated cost by $328,682.79, from $7.41 million to $7.74 million, Slocum said.

In addition, the rising cost of asphalt could add $527,000 to the project's cost, although the exact cost of asphalt will not be known until all the asphalt is laid, Slocum said.

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Traffic on Maugans Avenue could be shifted as early as Friday, if the eastbound side of the road is paved, Slocum said.

Although a number of "punch-list" items, such as grass seeding and clean-up, will push the project's official completion date to the middle of November, Slocum said all traffic lanes should be open by Oct. 30.

"That's our primary focus right now, is to get this road open to traffic," Slocum said.

When the road is finished, it will have five lanes between U.S. 11 and Interstate 81.

Turn lanes will be added and traffic signals at the interstate ramps are planned.

The project likely will include some liquidated damages for the delays, though the total amount of those damages is still being negotiated, Slocum said.

Liquidated damages are written into contracts to pay for the government's cost to keep inspectors and other workers on construction projects that are delayed.

The damages, which are set at $1,000 per day on the Maugans Avenue project, do not apply to unavoidable or unforeseen problems, Slocum said.

The county is negotiating with the project's contractor, C. William Hetzer, on how many days are eligible for liquidated damages, Slocum said.

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