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LAWRENCE COUNTY Officials to end dispute, get bridge work on track



Published: Wed, August 8, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Bridge design and engineering work is expected to resume sometime in the next three weeks.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lawrence County commissioners say they hope to get pre-engineering work for a new bridge in Ellwood City back on track soon.

Engineering work stopped in June on the new Ewing Park Bridge on Sims Street when commissioners learned that there was a dispute with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation over contracts for a Pittsburgh engineering firm.

Commissioner Ed Fosnaught said PennDOT refused to pay McCormick Taylor & amp; Associates for work done in 2000 because it did not have an approved contract with state officials before doing the work.

PennDOT officials could not be reached to comment.

Subcontractor: McCormick Taylor was working as a subcontractor for RAR Engineering of New Castle, the firm hired by the county to design the new bridge, Fosnaught said. The Pittsburgh firm stopped working on the environmental impact and bridge engineering work in April, he said.

County officials halted all engineering work on the new bridge in June when they learned of the dispute, he said.

Fosnaught said McCormick Taylor originally agreed to do the work without a contract, expecting one to be drawn up eventually and that they would be paid for all work done before the contract was signed.

They are owed about $48,000, Fosnaught said.

Agreement: County officials have been in contact with PennDOT about the project and have ironed out a contract agreement that should be approved by the state sometime in the next three weeks, Fosnaught said.

The commissioner said he expects design and engineering work on the new bridge will resume when the contract is signed.

The project has been set back about four months by the contract dispute, he said.

"We were expecting to begin [construction] work by the end of 2002 or early 2003. This makes it very difficult to reach that goal," Fosnaught said.




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