MDOT district office project halted

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The bankruptcy of the general contractor working on the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s First District office has put the project on hold.
MDOT’s new $5.1 million, 34,000-square-foot office was scheduled to be finished in August, but the bankruptcy filing last month of DC&M, a company based in Bay St. Louis that won the bid to do the work, has pushed back completion of the facility.
“Since the 2000s, we’ve had a couple road projects where the general contractor pulled out, and maybe a couple of building projects where something similar happened, but never this far into a project,” said MDOT project engineer Matt Dunn.
The new First District office is about 20 percent complete, he said.
Now it’s up to the bonding company to figure out how to finish the project.
“The state won’t be out any additional money,” Dunn said.
Whatever difference is left between the original bid and what it takes to finish the project will be paid by the bonding company.
Dunn said the supervisor of the project informed him in mid-January that DC&M had told him to shut down operations on the site. The project has been idle since.
The bonding company is responsible for finding another general contractor for the site, and Dunn said several subcontractors told him the company has worked quickly in the past to resolved similar situations.
MDOT’s original estimate for the project was more than $7.2 million. The project was let in October 2010, but construction didn’t start until March of last year.
DC&M was the lowest bidder on the project at a little more than $5.1 million. Dunn said the next-lowest bidder was about $100,000 more.
“It’s just part of the government bidding process, and things like this happen sometimes, unfortunately,” he said.
He said DC&M met all the licensing and bonding requirements to submit a bid.
Dunn said he hopes the new general contractor will keep the subcontractors now in place. In addition to having familiarity with the project, the subcontactors had received MDOT approval to order material prior to DC&M’s bankruptcy filing.
If the new general contractor decides to hire new subcontractors, they’ll likely have to order new materials, Dunn said.
Whoever finishes the work also will have to inspect any damage resulting from the incomplete building being exposed to the elements.
For now, when the work continues will depend on when the bonding company selects a new general contractor, Dunn said.
dennis.seid@journalinc.com