DOT waives $400,000 in contractor late fees on Racine Co. highway project
Delays on a Racine County construction project have county officials at odds with the Department of Transportation.
Julie Anderson, the county’s public works director, says the construction by Cornerstone Pavers on a 0.9-mile stretch of County Highway MM was completed nine months past the contract’s initial deadline.
Anderson says Cornerstone owed more than $400,000 in late fines.
"Fall was on us, winter was on us, and they were unable to complete the project,” she said.
Anderson says the DOT renegotiated the contract with Cornerstone behind closed doors, essentially letting them off the hook for the fines.
"It basically rewards the contractor for doing something that was outside of the timeline and we don't know the reason,” she said.
The constant presence of construction had become a nuisance for neighbors as well.
The DOT says it waived the fines because of several outside problems that caused delays, including AT&T utility lines that needed to be relocated and weather.
A new completion deadline was set.
Cornerstone said in a statement, "The DOT's revision of liquidated damages rightly reflected [delays out of our control] and should never have been assessed against Cornerstone. We regret the delay inconvenience, but it's certainly not fair or consistent with the contract to charge those damages to Cornerstone."
In July, the work wrapped up 11 days after the revised deadline.
Cornerstone is being assessed $22,070 in fines.
The DOT says Cornerstone is still eligible to bid on future projects as a prime contractor.