Hazlet Takes Action Against Contractor For Unfinished Sidewalk Project
Township Committee says contractor has left the job, putting its federal grant at risk.
Hazlet Township says it will begin the default process against A Montone Construction (AMC) of Cliffwood, which it says has walked away from a nearly finished sidewalk installation project near the Beers Street School.
The project to install 2,400 linear feet of sidewalks along Bedle Road, Peach Drive, and Knoll Terrace to Holmdel Road apparently came to a halt about a month ago. Orange cones are clustered on the side of the road, and workers haven't been seen in weeks.
"The biggest problem now is that I can’t close the project out in order to get funding from DOT," said Deputy Mayor Michael Sachs, the liaison to the Dept. of Public Works. "The contractor has refused to come back to finish the project."
The Township Committee said its attempts to reach AMC has been fruitless. Sachs said he has heard from the township engineer that the contractor was "told by someone outside the adminstration not to finish it until the new year."
Sachs believes it is reference for when the Republican Party-majority Committee swings to Democratic Party control, and changes might be proposed to the project.
A phone message seeking comment left at AMC's office Wednesday afternoon was not returned.
Despite the fact they won't be here to see the issue through, incumbents Mayor David Tinker and Committteeman James Brady said the township should not sit back and wait any longer. With the recommendation of the township administrator and attorney, the two elected officials plus Sachs decided to send a message they want a meeting in 10 days with AMC's bonding company, "a first step to the default process," they said. Committemen Scott Aagre and Joe Belasco were absent Wednesday.
The project was funded through a $300,000 grant from the federal Safe Routes to School program in 2009 to encourage child pedestrian safety.
The project hit some speedbumps in the summer, when it was discovered that the former engineering firm did not include retaining walls for sloping properties or tree removal. The township had to authorize spending of $25,000 for corrections, which incurred additional engineering costs, concete, and moving meter boxes. That trouble did not delay AMC's schedule, Sachs said.
The Township Committee also had to factor in the cost of an on-site inspector for 8 hours a day, which was also required under federal guidelines,