Deadline Dispute Between City Of Tulsa, Contractor

Tuesday, April 14th 2009, 6:04 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Drivers who travel Utica and 36th streets in Tulsa have been dealing with a road project that might seem to have no end.

When The News On 6 asked the city about it, they blamed the contractor, but the contractor blames the city for a delay that has delayed this road repair by at least two months.

The delays are personal for city councilor GT Bynum. He has family living along the torn up streets.

"We're not talking about a four lane major street, this is an intersection in a residential area," said GT Bynum, Tulsa City Councilor.

Crews from Becco Construction are hard at work now, but won't finish the job until at least 50 days past their deadline.

The delayed street work stretches a full mile down Utica Avenue and for half a mile on 36th from Utica to Lewis.

The city is paying $3.6 million dollars to repair Utica and rebuild 36th street.

The city blames the contractor for the delays and plans to penalize Becco $1,000 a day until it's done.

"The finger is being pointed at us and we're going to start pointing the finger back," said Kyle Wilson, Becco Construction.

Kyle Wilson with Becco says the city has interfered with the job by limiting how much of the street could be closed at a time.

"We're the largest contractor in Tulsa. We could work on all these at the same time if the city would let us, but they want to limit the exposure to the traveling public and that's the problem, that's what's happening here," said Wilson.

City Councilor Bynum worries if the city can't get this project moving, gridlock will come as the pace of construction picks up.

"And what we don't want is for the citizens to have a horrible experience with road projects now and then not approve future road work when it comes up for a vote five years from now," said Bynum.

Wilson says the city interference goes against their contract and predicts Becco won't be paying for delays that can be blamed on the city.

"And if we want to get into that argument, it's not hard to figure out who is going to win this one," said Wilson.

Becco has 400 employees in Tulsa, so they say they could have finished this much faster. As of now, they say they'll be done in 3 or 4 weeks.

The city plans to pursue the fines, but that won't be sorted out until the project ends.