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End of the road widening is in sight

(ran LA edition of LT)

The end is in sight for drivers who have been navigating bumps, barricades and an obstacle course of above-the-road metal manholes for the past 14 months on part of Indian Rocks Road.

Richard Gildea, a Pinellas County engineering specialist, said Thursday that the road-widening project should be completed by the week of July 10.

The project, to add a third lane to Indian Rocks Road from Sunset Road to Mehlenbacher Road, began in April 1994 and was to be completed in February by Overstreet Paving of Largo.

Gildea said he doesn't know why the work has taken longer than scheduled.

"I really can't say," he said. "They had some utility conflicts, but nothing out of the ordinary."

Officials from Overstreet did not return a reporter's phone calls this week.

Tom McGrew, Pinellas County director of engineering, said the construction work may have been complicated by parking and accesses that had to be maintained for businesses next to the project.

Nevertheless, Gildea said, "We're not happy with the contractor's progress."

He said he didn't know if Overstreet would be penalized for the delay. The original contract, he said, was for $1,534,504.88. The competence of Overstreet's work is not at issue, just the delay, he said.

"We're doing everything we can to get them to complete" the work, Gildea said. The final phase _ paving, striping and sodding _ may begin next week, he said. "Hopefully, it will be finished by the second week of July."

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