WILSON – A company has been found in default of state transportation contracts to replace three bridges in Edgecombe and Halifax counties.
The N.C. Department of Transportation has terminated the three contracts with National Bridge Builders LLC, of Kernersville. In addition, the department anticipates taking the same action soon on a fourth contract with the same company that was also hired to replace three bridges clustered together on Seven Bridges Road in Edgecombe County.
As a result, a bonding company for National Bridge Builders LLC of Kernersville will select replacement contractors to complete the projects at no additional cost to the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Corey McLamb, the department's Division 4 construction engineer based in Wilson, said the Division staff's numerous efforts to help National Bridge Builders stay on schedule were unsuccessful. He said the company has ceased all work and removed its equipment from the four jobs sites, although three officially were declared breached this week – and the fourth one is pending the same outcome.
“These situations are rare, but our contract specifications require payment and performance bonds that provide a means to complete the project when a contractor cannot finish the job, for whatever reason," McLamb said.
The department has well-established procedures in place and experience in completing projects with bonding companies.
For all NCDOT contracts, the state agency requires the contractor to have a bonding company in case NCDOT is forced to terminate a contractor's right to work on a project. NCDOT has been forced this year to terminate contracts with National Bridge Builders on projects the company had been working on in McDowell and Stanly counties, too.
Work to replace the three bridges started last year. These are the affected bridge projects, which are now in default, and their original timelines:
- Edgecombe County: N.C. 97 over Swift Creek north of Tarboro. The $2 million contract was awarded in March 2021 with a July 2022 deadline to reopen the road.
- Edgecombe County: N.C. 122 over Town Creek north of Pinetops. The $1.7 million contract was awarded in March 2021 with a March 2022 deadline to reopen the road.
- Halifax County: N.C. 561 over Conocannara Swamp southeast of Halifax. The $2.2 million contract was awarded in March 2021 with a September 2022 deadline to reopen the road.
No construction activity will occur until new contractor(s) are hired to take over these projects. An updated completion timeline for these work sites will be determined after replacement contractors are hired.