PennDOT withholding money from contractor on I-83 Mount Rose Avenue project

SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — The battle continues between PennDOT and the contractor on the Interstate 83/Mount Rose Avenue project. The project was supposed to be completed last year, and it's not even close to being done.

PennDOT is blaming the contractor, Cherry Hill Construction, and said it hasn't met the contract's requirements in a timely fashion, while Cherry Hill Construction said many of the delays were beyond their control. Now the state is holding up on their promise to make them pay up.

Back in July of 2018, FOX43 brought you the story of K.D. Rosengrant Building & Remodeling and their store sign, shaming PennDOT for not having the I-83/Mount Rose Avenue project finished.

“This is actually our second message about Mount Rose Avenue construction,” Betsy Stein, President of K.D. Rosengrant Building and Remodeling, said back in July. “The first one was put up by my husband who said, 'if Betsy was in charge of Mount Rose Avenue construction, it would already be done’.”

Fast forward almost a year -

“I feel the same way I did when I stood here with you ten months ago,” Stein said. “I’m frustrated. I’ve been frustrated. We’re all frustrated. Is there anybody that you can talk to about this nightmare that’s not frustrated?”

The sign now has two new messages, and to no one's surprise, it shames PennDOT again.

But PennDOT said it is now withholding more than a million dollars in punishment for delays. And Cherry Hill Construction has filed a formal complaint, stating it believes PennDOT has operated and managed this project in bad faith, in a statement to FOX43.

“But the thing is with our business, if we’re going to get on a draw schedule, we gotta get to that specific part of the contract before we get that money,” Stein said. “So my question is just from a contractor’s point of view, have they met all of the milestones? Have they met all of those points to get this money? Because I wonder what are we still getting money for?”

Turns out PennDOT had been paying the company in full this whole time, that is, up until this month. It has begun deducting RULDs, which are road user liquidated damages. It's basically an “inconvenience fee" because it feels drivers have been inconvenienced for too long, all because the contractor hasn't met deadlines.

“Doesn’t really matter to me who's blaming who,” Stein said. “The bottom line is we got to get it done.”

“I would blame it 100% on PennDOT,” Karl Rosengrant of Spring Garden Township, said. “Number 1 they are the boss, they’re the ones that hired them for the taxpayers and spent close to 70 million dollars to do this project and they have not stayed on top of it.”

No word on when the project will be complete.

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