It's something we never like to see happen, but we want to make sure the public understands the road is open, that traffic is flowing well. —UDOT spokeswoman Heather Barnum
LEHI — A $150 million highway project in Utah County that has been plagued with delays is now facing yet another postponement over its completion.
Work on Timpanogos Highway or state Route 92, between I-15 and Alpine and Highland, began in the fall of 2009. It was scheduled to be finished May 31, 2011.
The road-widening of Timpanogos Highway — adding a lane in each direction as well as a center lane — also includes the state's first express commuter lanes to provide motorists with a "direct connect" to I-15 that bypasses traffic signals or certain exits. The 6-mile project includes re-engineering of the interchange to handle new traffic configurations.
The mainline highway opened in December, so drivers are already on an improved and safer highway. But the commuter lanes are still not finished.
In March, UDOT found serious quality control problems with the project, including advanced concrete cracking and design issues with the drainage system, which UDOT blamed for the delays. It said the highway was set to reach what is known as substantial completion on May 22.
“It's something we never like to see happen,” UDOT spokeswoman Heather Barnum said, “but we want to make sure the public understands the road is open, that traffic is flowing well and what we are doing now is make sure the quality is up to the standards.”
In a written statement, the contractor — a joint venture between Flatiron and Harper companies — said, "Flatiron/Harper JV, with our partners at the Utah Department of Transportation, remain focused on the successful completion of the SR92 project. While first and foremost ensuring that all safety and quality standards are met, FHJV and UDOT will continue to work together to deliver the SR92 project to the community at the earliest possible date."
For now, UDOT is not giving a new and specific target date for the project to be finished. "We are hopeful the project can be completed mid to late summer at this point.” Barnum said.
UDOT gave the contractor an extension of 20 days because of the unusually wet spring last year and 120 days were tacked on because of complex right-of-way negotiations the traffic agency encountered. That was all without penalty until last fall.
It began issuing the contractor a daily fine on Oct. 21. "This contractor is being deducted $15,000 a day, and we will continue to do so until we reach substantial completion," she said.
So far, the delay has cost the companies nearly $3.5 million.