Final paving begins on long overdue Mount Rose Avenue/I-83 project
Final paving has begun on the long overdue Mount Rose Avenue/Interstate 83 interchange project.
The state Department of Transportation on Friday confirmed that Cherry Hill Construction has begun final paving on Mount Rose Avenue. Although no new completion date was announced, Cherry Hill has said in the past that it could complete the project within 90 days once it starts the final paving.
"The contractor has not provided a revised schedule update, however they have indicated they will complete the final paving of I-83 mainline and the ramps by the end of summer/early fall," PennDOT spokesperson Dave Thompson said in a statement.
Tutor Perini, the parent company of Cherry Hill, did not respond to requests for comment.
The Mount Rose project began in 2015 and was initially slated to wrap up in 2018, but it has been repeatedly pushed back as costs continue to increase. The project missed its most recent supposed completion date, May 11.
The company originally bid $58.3 million for the work, but the cost has now risen to more than $63 million.
The contractor has also incurred more than $23 million in liquidated damages, which are late fees demanded by the state, PennDOT has said. The company claims it does not owe any of those funds.
The department and Cherry Hill are still in the middle of a legal dispute in front of the state Board of Claims.
In December 2019, the contractor filed a claim with the state's quasi-judicial agency that handles contract disputes, alleging the state owes it more than $24 million.
It also sought a 598-day extension of the contract's completion date. It was unclear whether the claim referred to the initial June 2018 deadline.
The company alleged PennDOT repeatedly breached its contract with the company since the project began, ignoring issues that surfaced along the way.
PennDOT countered that it abided by the contract and that any delays were the fault of Cherry Hill.
The state Board of Claims has yet to rule on the matter.
— Logan Hullinger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.