New contractor chosen for Springlakes project

Columbia County commissioners approved a bid Tuesday for a Martinez drainage project from which they fired the original contractor last year.

Evans-based Blair Construction Inc. won the nearly $327,000 bid to finish the stormwater project on Sandalwood Drive in the Springlakes neighborhood.

The project to finish widening the culverts and parts of Reed Creek that feed the subdivision’s 20-acre lake should conclude in 60 days, Bill Clayton, the county Water Utility director, said before the meeting.

Initially, Jeffery Harris Trucking Co. won the project after giving the lowest bid of $814,000. However, Clayton issued the company a notice of termination just days before a November deadline.

About half the work had been done, Clayton said at the time.

Clayton initially asked commissioners to not award the project to Harris, saying the company received bad recommendations. But the commission was unwilling to subvert the bidding process.

Officials received more bad news in February concerning this project when they tried to collect money paid to Harris from Pennsylvania-based First Sealord Surety.

The bonding company filed bankruptcy that month and was taken over by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department for liquidation. Clayton said it might take until October for officials to learn whether the county will receive any compensation on that project.

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