Forest road project to cost more than projected

{child_byline}By Shannon Keith


BEDFORD — Several members of the Bedford County Board of Supervisors voiced concerns Monday that road improvements off of Perrowville Road are costing the county more than previously budgeted for the project.

The board Monday unanimously approved a change order for work being done on the Corporate Park Drive extension project.

The project — which was approved by the board in January — will extend Corporate Park Drive — located off of Perrowville Road near Jefferson Forest High School — from the current cul-de-sac to be connected with the intersection of U.S. 221 and Elkton Farm Road on Virginia 666 near Cavalier Automotive. Currently, Corporate Park Drive only connects to Perrowville Road and causes traffic jams around Jefferson Forest.

“Right now Perrowville Road coming onto 221 is a disaster because there’s so much traffic coming from the school,” Chairman Tommy Scott said in January. “I’ve had people tell me they’ve had to wait 20 to 30 minutes to get out into traffic.”

The $1.7 million road extension is being funded through a revenue- sharing agreement between Bedford County and the Virginia Department of Transportation. Bedford County’s share of the project’s cost originally was estimated at $187,661, which was allocated in this year’s budget.

However, Bedford County Administrator Robert Hiss told the board during Monday’s meeting the project’s contractor — Buchanan-based AR Coffee & Sons — encountered large amounts of rock along the project’s original sewer line alignment and estimated 1,200 cubic yards of rock would need to be removed. The contractor also requested a redesign of a traffic signal at the U.S. 221 intersection due to encountering underground utility conflicts with the proposed pole locations.

Hiss said the estimated cost to the county now is anticipated to be about $213,000, about $25,400 more than the original projection.

“This change could have been a lot worse,” Hiss said Monday. “And this action tonight will allow the contractor to continue working without delay on the new roadway construction.”

According to county staff reports, Bedford County is requesting engineering firm Hurt & Proffitt — which designed the project — waive about $16,000 in engineering fees to help offset the additional costs due to staff’s “belief that these issues could have been previously identified with greater due diligence during project design.”

Hiss said the additional costs would be funded using money from the county’s fund balance, Bedford County’s reserve for contingencies.

Several board members expressed concerns about whether more change orders would be required as the project moves forward and questioned who would be responsible for the additional costs.

“My assumption is any change order will be on our dime,” District 2 Supervisor Edgar Tuck said.

Hiss said he believed the county will be expected to cover any additional costs if they occur.

“That is something that is discomforting to me as well,” Hiss said. “VDOT has stated how much they are willing to spend on this project, so I imagine any further change orders would be on our dime.”

District 6 Supervisor Andy Dooley expressed concerned about why the county solely is responsible for additional costs.

“My concern is that this is a revenue-sharing project but the revenue is coming from us,” Dooley said. “I’m always up here advocating for roads but we can’t spend it all on one project.”

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Shannon Keith covers Bedford County for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5530.

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