Contractor has 10 days to find solutions on $173 mil. project

Contractor has 10 days to find solutions on $173 mil. project

EDDYVILLE, Ore. - The Oregon Department of Transportation has issued a notice of default to a contractor they claim is responsible for a stalled and over-budget project on Highway 20 outside of Corvallis.

ODOT said the contractor has 10 days to submit a "satisfactory" proposal to get the project back on track or they could lose the contract.

Called the Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville Project, the new stretch of highway is designed to replace a winding, 10-mile stretch of two-lane highway between Corvallis and Newport with a safer, 5.5-mile modern roadway with passing lanes and fewer curves. According to the ODOT website, the project was started in 2005.

KATU News looked at problems with the project in December of 2011. At that time, the project was $80 million over-budget and had been delayed two years due to a work stoppage when it was discovered that concrete columns designed to hold up parts of the planned highway were shifting out of position due to landslides.

In a letter (PDF) posted Friday by ODOT on the project's website, ODOT levels over two dozen complaints against the project's contractor, Yaquina River Constructors, or YRC, saying even that list "is not exhaustive."

In a press release issued Friday, ODOT states YRC has 10 calendar days from March 16 "to submit  to ODOT a proposal for correction satisfactory to ODOT. It that does not occur, one of the actions ODOT can take is to terminate the contract for default."

In summation, the letter sent to YRC states: "Despite the Contract Amount having been substantially increased from $129,900,000 over the course of the Project, and ODOT's payment of and YRC's receipt of over $173,000,000 to date, the Project remains materially incomplete and fundamentally defective. YRC has failed to timely present any concrete prospects or plans for eventual completion."

The letter is signed by ODOT Director Matthew Garrett.

ODOT officials reached by KATU News said they cannot comment on the matter until the 10-day period has passed. YRC has said their contract does not allow them to speak about the project without permission from ODOT.

Local residents interviewed by KATU last year said Highway 20 is dangerous and they are frustrated with the cost and delays in completing the project.

“The problem isn’t going to get better and it’s not going to get cheaper,” neighbor Bob Rudel said in 2011.