The Plummer, Idaho contractor working on the Dayton Street bridge over an irrigation canal near Kennewick High School could face penalties for not finishing the project before school starts.
Kennewick officials contend Accelerated Construction & Excavating had plenty of time to prepare for the project because the contract was awarded more than a year ago.
The general contractor told the Herald earlier this week that late delivery of girders and other building materials means the bridge work won’t be finished until after school starts.
City officials are frustrated because they held off on the project for a year to make sure it could be finished during the summer so it would not impact school traffic, said Evelyn Lusignan, the city’s customer service manager.
“We are taking this very seriously and looking for solutions to minimize the impacts,” she said.
The contractors has said the $704,000 project won’t be done until mid-September. But classes start Aug. 26.
Workers began replacing the bridge in mid-June and were scheduled to finish by Aug. 25. City officials had planned the work for years as the bridge over the Columbia Irrigation District canal had structural problems. About 60 percent of the costs are covered by a Federal Highway Bridge program grant.
Lusignan said the city and the contractor hope to be able to find a way to reduce the amount of time before the bridge work is finished and Dayton Street can reopen to through traffic.
No decision has been made on possible penalties at this point, she said.
Kennewick officials already have been working with Ben Franklin Transit and the Kennewick School District on ways to lessen the impacts. The group will meet again Friday with the general contractor. Part of the meeting will be to work on interim bus routes and pick up and drop off areas.
“We are looking at all options available for safe and efficient access,” Lusignan said.
The parade that kicks off the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo on Saturday already is using an alternative route.