HERMITAGE Slow paperwork makes delay for Route 18 widening

A conflict with the lowest bidder is causing the latest delay.
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- It looks as though the state's proposed $15 million widening project for a section of Pa. Route 18 in the city won't get started this year.
City Manager Gary Hinkson told city commissioners Thursday that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation notified him earlier this week that a problem with a contract award for the job has caused the delay.
Planned work: The state is planning to widen a 2.6-mile, two-lane section of Route 18 from U.S. Route 62 north to the existing four-lane section of road.
PennDOT had proposed doing the job in two sections, starting the northern end of the job this year.
The right-of-way work and design work has been done, but there is a problem with the construction contract award, Hinkson said.
The apparent low bidder on the job failed to submit the required paperwork documentation needed by PennDOT so the state awarded the job to the next lowest bidder, Hinkson said he was told.
That prompted the low bidder to file a protest, which could delay any work for 60 days while PennDOT reviews the issue, he said.
The low bidder could then take the case to Commonwealth Court if it is unhappy with PennDOT's decision on the protest, further delaying the job, Hinkson said.
The original schedule for the project called for contracts to be awarded last October and the bulk of the construction work to be done this year.
Delays in final designs and securing rights of way pushed the bidding process and the start of the job back. Until the latest contract problem surfaced, work was to begin this fall.

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