The N.C. Department of Transportation said it believes construction work could resume on Independence Boulevard by the end of March, if a contractor does not return to work by Monday and the state declares the builder is in default.
The DOT and Michigan-based DeVere Construction are fighting over money for the U.S. 74 widening.
DeVere said it has quit working on U.S. 74 and other N.C. projects “pending resolution of sizable claims” that it is owed by the state.
The DOT has said DeVere must perform according to the terms of its contracts with the state, and “there can be financial consequences if the company fails to meet its contracted obligations.”
Devere quit working on Independence Boulevard last week. The DOT said if DeVere doesn’t return to the job Monday, the state will continue working with the bonding company “on a replacement plan to allow work to resume as soon as possible.”
The DOT said that could be by the end of March.
The project is scheduled to open to traffic in October, with final work completed by spring of 2017.
The state’s most recent widening project on Independence is converting a roughly 1.6-mile stretch between Albemarle Road and Wallace Lane in east Charlotte to an eight-lane freeway. The $100-million-plus project will also have an express toll lane in the median in a year or two.
The DOT said it doesn’t expect the dispute to delay the project significantly.
“With this issue occurring outside of our typical construction season, we should be able to overcome the impacts to allow completion or substantial completion by late 2016,” said DOT spokesperson Jordan-Ashley Baker.
In case of default, the bonding company would present a plan for the DOT to approve. The bonding company could only use a company from a state-approved list of pre-qualified contractors.
When the project is finished, traffic signals at Sharon Amity and Idlewild roads will be removed once bridges are completed at those intersections. A bridge at Conference Drive has opened, and the traffic signal there has been removed.
Interchanges will be built with the bridges at Sharon Amity Road and Idlewild Road. The project will also add features to improve safety and include accommodations for future transit service.