SCDOT blames contractor for subpar work in I-26 widening project
GASTON, SC (WIS) - On Monday night, dozens attended a special meeting with questions about the I-26 widening project and the South Carolina Department of Transportation had answers.
The project, which is more than a year behind schedule, has drawn criticism from both residents and Senator Nikki Setzler for the big delay, the bumpy results, and stretches of substandard work that are still being replaced leaving the SCDOT's top official apologizing for what's been done thus far.
The $75 million construction was to widen 10 miles of I-26 through Lexington County and Calhoun County in the Sandy Run area.
"This has not been a showcase project for us," said SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall. "Our contractor struggled with this project."
Boggs Paving, the North Carolina contractor working on the project, was blamed for the less-than-quality work by SCDOT Deputy Secretary Leland Colvin. According to Colvin, one of Boggs' leaders was indicted and convicted for a separate issue in North Carolina after he got the contract to do the work here. From that point, it was all downhill.
"I think that that company is basically going under with the indictment," Colvin said. "The owner of the company is still in prison. There's some other folks in as well. That's one of the reasons that probably this project got off the rails."
SCDOT said it's constantly involved in inspecting work and, up until lately, Boggs never had any problems.
Despite the department placing the blame on the company, some residents still have their doubts.
"I know that they put a lot of the blame on Boggs," said Becky Pou, "but my question is…you are the DOT. Who's checking on these people?"
The agency said it doesn't pay for any work that doesn't meet standards. The agency said it will continue to penalize the contractor $10,000 a day until the work is done.
SCDOT also addressed another issue at the meeting Monday.
When traffic backs up on I-26, motorists sometimes detour onto roads surrounding the highway like Highway 176. When that happens, the traffic becomes so thick and neighbors can't even leave their homes.
The department said it is actively working on ways to resolve those issues.
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