Highway 12 Road Block Continues

They say Wisconsin has two seasons: winter and construction.

But it's spring and the Highway 12 project is empty.

"Right now we're not far behind," says Jeff Gust, Highway 12 Project Supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, "But if we don't get somebody to complete the work, it's possible we may not get done by the end of this year."

Last month, James Cape & Sons Construction Company went bankrupt. Their equipment is just sitting by the side of the road waiting for new workers.

That burden lies on the bonding company, not the state. It's a $23 million project. $13 million worth of work is still left. So far, Federal Insurance Company has had one bid, but it's for about $7 million more than the old contract.

"There's penalties that the bonding company is now going to get if they don't get things done on time," says Gust, "The penalties can be somewhere between $1,000 and $5,000 a day so they're going to be out that money if they don't get a contractor that can get the work done."

Those who travel on Highway 12 say they can't be patient much longer.

Bill Pielsticker says, "It certainly creates an inconvenience. Despite what people feel about the project from the start, now that it's underway it really would be nice to finish it up and have the safer road we're looking for."

Driver Jerry Reller adds, "It would be nice to have it done now but it will probably take some time."

And time is of the essence.

"Right now we have good weather so we really want to get somebody out there now so we can get going," says Gust.

Pielsticker sums it up, "If this moves into another winter without completion it will be a real pain in the neck."

If the bonding company doesn't find a contractor, the state could take over the contract, but that means more work for something that's not their responsibility.

So DOT officials say they're going to wait a few more weeks before taking any action.

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