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Blame utilities for delay

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

I am writing on behalf of my employer, R.W. Dunteman, general contractor on the Route 31/176 highway construction project, in response to the letter to the editor by Lois Wiese (“Route 176 project,” July 27), in which she complained about the lack of activity on this project.

Regrettably, work was halted on this project, not by my firm’s choice, but because of another in a series of utility delays and conflicts that have pushed this project beyond its original completion date. The delay that stopped work was for the relocation of an 8-inch gas main that was in conflict with the sewer necessary to complete that scope.

This project was delayed at its onset by utility relocation work, which included this very gas main, but was incorrectly installed by Nicor and had to be relocated for a second time, causing this delay and work stoppage.

Unfortunately, situations such as this are the norm, where general contractors become the public face of construction projects and are blamed by the public for projects that drag on while the utility companies are not held to the same standards and avoid scrutiny.

There is no benefit to the contractor in prolonging a project, rather, the longer it lasts, the more it costs. Regarding Wiese’s observation that there was no equipment on the project, I’m afraid that’s incorrect. On that Friday, there was equipment representing an investment by my firm of nearly $2 million sitting idle instead of being productive. 

Steven Powell

Project superintendent, R.W. Dunteman

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