No Treat for Lynchburg Businesses on 5th Street, Construction De - WSET.com - ABC13

No Treat for Lynchburg Businesses on 5th Street, Construction Delayed Again

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Lynchburg, VA- Businesses on Lynchburg's Fifth Street didn't get the treat they were told to expect this Halloween. Construction on phase two of the Fifth Street project still isn't done.

Construction Coordinator Ed Wood told ABC 13 at the beginning of October their goal end date was October 31st. Now, Wood says they are working on a new completion date but don't have one at the moment. But, it doesn't really seem to make a difference to business owners anymore. They say they don't have faith in any date.

We asked Wood, how many times has the project been delayed? He said, "Oh, three times I know of. And we are currently under a change order which will extend it an additional time."

We asked James River Conference Center CEO, Debby Ruffin, will she believe the new end date when it is released? She said, "I didn't believe the last one, I'm not going to believe anything they tell me until the street's paved and all the construction people are gone."

Well, the road is still bumpy and construction crews are still working.

"It's October 31st and trick or treat. Guess what? We got nothing," said Ruffin.

Construction Coordinator Ed Wood says if anyone was tricked, it was the city. Crews just kept finding things that needed to be fixed. He says while crews were digging they kept running into things that needed to be fixed and updated.

"Underground duct banks, waterline systems, old sedentary sewer systems, stuff that you know, we didn't have records on," said Wood.

Since crews were already in place, the city gave them the green light to fix the problems they dug up. The city also decided to extend the brick crosswalks down to Main Street. In the original plan the brick crosswalks stopped at Church Street.

"We already have a contractor in place, we already have traffic control. You might as well do the extensions while we're here," he said.

In some cases when a contractor does not finish a project by the contracted date, they are required to pay a penalty, or liquidated damages. But, since the city gave the contractor the go ahead for all these additions, there are no consequences for all the delays, except some unhappy citizens.

"Apologize for any of the inconveniences," said Wood.

"We know they're sorry. There's no question about that. But sorry doesn't fix the business. Sorry doesn't pay your bills, and sorry don't pay your taxes," said Ruffin.

Ruffin did add that the city has rented her conference center on several occasions, and she appreciates all the business she can get.

Wood says they are working with the contractor on a new end date right now. He also tells us the original cost of this project was supposed to be $3.1 million. With all the additions, the new projected cost is around $3.5 million. However, Wood says the city would have had to make those changes at some point, and believes in the long run they will end up saving money.

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Lynchburg, VA- Businesses and residents of Lynchburg's Fifth Street will be getting a trick instead of a treat this Halloween. Construction on the road is still incomplete.

At the beginning of October we told you the new goal end date was October 31. Now, Construction Coordinator Ed Wood says because of unforeseen issues, the project has been delayed again.

Thursday night, ABC 13 will talk to  Wood about a new end goal, and what, if any, consequences the city or contractor faces when a construction project is delayed.

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