De­fault de­lays ma­jor road projects

Long­time con­trac­tor aban­dons 20 state work sites, in­clud­ing three in Cen­tral Texas.

Austin American-Statesman - - B METRO & STATE - By Benwear bwear@states­man.com Con­struc­tion B

A long­time Rio Grande Val­ley road con­trac­tor in re­cent weeks has de­faulted on more than 20 Texas De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion projects, in­clud­ing three ma­jor jobs in Cen­tral Texas.

Work has com­pletely stopped on two of the three projects — new In­ter­state 35 over­passes at Lake­way Drive north of Ge­orge­town and at Main Street in Buda — as TxDOT and bond in­surance com­pa­nies scram­ble to get other con­trac­tors. TxDOT of­fi­cials said a few work­ers, pos­si­bly with a sub­con­trac­tor, re­main on a new in­ter­change on the Texas 45 North toll­way in Wil­liamson County where it will con­nect with O’Connor Drive.

Ballenger Con­struc­tion, based in Har­lin­gen, no­ti­fied TxDOT early this week that it was leav­ing the Cen­tral Texas projects af­ter a sev­eral-month at­tempt to bring on sub­sti­tute con­trac­tors failed, a TxDOT of­fi­cial said.

No one an­swered the phone at midafter­noon Fri­day at Ballenger’s cor­po­rate head­quar­ters. The San An­to­nio Ex­press­News re­ported Fri­day that two former Ballenger em­ploy­ees said the com­pany laid off work­ers Mon­day.

The $10.8 mil­lion Main Street project is nearly com­plete, TxDOT of­fi­cials said. The O’Connor/45 North project — TxDOT is build­ing the $24.7 mil­lion in­ter­change af­ter Wil­liamson County built and paid for an $11.4 mil­lion ex­ten­sion of O’Connor from the north — is about 40 per-

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