Votes for bonding option and announces new bid advertisement
Carmel, NY – Last night, the Putnam County Legislature voted to authorize the County the option to bond up to $4 million to cover additional costs incurred as a result of the failure of the original contractor to progress restarting the Peekskill Hollow Road construction project. This past Friday, Putnam County sent formal notice to the original contractor working on the project that the contract has been terminated for failure of the contractor to meet its obligations. Today, at the direction of County Executive Kevin Byrne, the remainder of the project has been published by the County as a new bid to ensure a new responsible contractor will recommence work and complete the project as soon as possible.
“This administration is doing everything it can to make sure this project moves forward as responsibly and as quickly as possible, while ensuring the safety of residents traveling along Peekskill Hollow Road,” said County Executive Byrne. “We recognize residents are frustrated, and I share that frustration. We’ve been tracking issues with this project and working toward a resolution since before I even took office. This project has been going on for far too long, and we need to move forward.”
“County Executive Byrne and I have been discussing this project well before he took office,” said Legislator Bill Gouldman. “It’s clear that the previous contractor failed to do the work, and we are now moving as quickly as possible to remedy the situation.”
Bids for a new contract are currently being accepted and will continue to be accepted through May 24. This compressed three-week timeline for the bid period contrasts with the advertisement of other projects which could normally take 6 to 8 weeks but is permitted by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and speaks to the importance of this project’s timely success. In order to facilitate a larger pool of bids in a shorter amount of time, advertisements have been placed in more publications than legally required, including online publications (Bidnet and the New York State Contract Reporter).
This construction project is primarily funded through NYSDOT, and as such, the County has kept NYSDOT apprised of all updates on the termination and bidding process. The State will continue to work with Putnam County and the new contractor once one is chosen.
The County Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with outside counsel, is also actively exploring all potential legal options to recover any possible increased costs over the initially budgeted amount.
County Executive Byrne publicly addressed the Peekskill Hollow Road project delays in his State of the County Address on March 9, 2023. He has stated that seeing the Peekskill Hollow Road and Bridge Reconstruction Project completed is a high priority for this administration. The previous administration entered into an agreement with a contractor in May of 2021 and problems with the now-terminated contractor quickly arose before work even began.
In 2021, under the previous administration, rather than terminating the contract, the County, in good faith, chose to move forward with the previous contractor. However, now after 9 months past the initial project completion date of August 4, 2022, the project is less than 25% completed. In addition, during one of the mildest winters in a decade, the original contractor completely walked off the job and has not recommenced work since mid-December 2022.
Since January 1st, 2023, the County has held numerous meetings exploring the possibility of salvaging the project. The County Executive personally met with senior representatives of the since-terminated contractor and their counsel on January 31st and they discussed potential paths forward and ways to recommence work. Unfortunately, their proposal was entirely unworkable as it would have fundamentally changed the scope of work and would have risked the county’s ability to receive State and Federal monies that were committed to fund up to 90% of the project. It was at this time that the County under the Byrne Administration made the move to retain a new outside counsel that specializes in construction law and actively explore all legal remedies to have work safely recommence