When the reconstruction of Highway MM in Mount Pleasant from Highway 31 to Highway 38 was announced, the public was told the project would be done by November. The completion date for Cornerstone Pavers LLC was set for Nov. 1.
Today is Nov. 11. Snow is on the ground and that one-mile stretch of road is nowhere near completion.
According to current estimates, the project is to be done by Dec. 22, an early Christmas present for businesses and residents who live and work along that stretch.
A Dec. 22 completion is unacceptable for this project, and for any other project that experiences delays to this magnitude.
The project on County Highway MM and State Highway 38 costs more than $5.3 million and is split between the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, which is providing 80 percent of the costs through federal funds; and Racine County, which is picking up the remaining 20 percent.
In April, the county announced that the road would be closing down for about seven months for construction, with a November completion date.
But then, in July, because of rain delays, the county announced the project deadline was pushed back “slightly.” In addition, bedrock was found below the road that needed blasting.
Considering the road is right next to Quarry Park, it shouldn’t have been surprising that there was bedrock that needed to be blasted. In addition, rain delays are supposed to be built into the timelines.
Area residents, businesses and county officials also are upset.
MT Boyle, chief of staff to Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave, said the county is frustrated with the lack of progress on the project and has expressed those frustrations to the DOT, which is overseeing the project.
Boyle said the county is “disheartened” that the project likely won’t be completed until December.
“The County has shared its serious concerns regarding successful completion of the project with the WisDOT and has sought WisDOT’s assistance and leadership in holding this contractor accountable to ensure timely completion of the project,” Boyle said in September.
The bottom line is that this project and other similar projects need to be done more efficiently, and deadlines need to be taken seriously. If deadlines — such as the Dec. 22 deadline — are not met, the state needs to issue punitive damages to show there are consequences.