Benton Mayor David Mattingly met today with officials from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD), and released the following statement regarding the progress:
I attended the meeting at the AHTD this morning regarding the ongoing undercut problem which has interrupted construction on lower Military Rd. (unsuitable soil.) It was a productive meeting and resolved any confusion about the process we will now follow in making the necessary decisions to get us back on track. Next week, I will meet with McClelland Engineering, our project administrative engineering group, McGeorge Inc., the contractor in charge of construction, and representatives from Metroplan to determine the most effective remedy to the undercut problem. Once we make the decision of which technique will be used to stabilize the unsuitable soil, the change order document and other necessary documentation will be submitted to the AHTD. Their responsibility is oversight for effective use of federal funds and to ensure compliance with AHTD standards for road construction, not to tell us what process we should use to fix the problem. Jim McKenzie, Director of Metroplan, indicated he will support the decision made by the group to approve the $1.3 million change order that has been at the heart of the controversy. Further, he suggested, and we all agreed, we should proceed with the understanding the project will be done in 1/3 increments and funded as required based on the conditions we find as work proceeds. Additionally, he indicated if we would exceed the actual budgeted amount of $10 million, which was allocated for roadway construction, he would ask the Metroplan Board to help us find additional federal funding to minimize the cost impact on the city.
Mayor, City of Benton