I-69 subcontractors resume work on highway project

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Subcontractors have resumed work on an Interstate 69 project after halting operations earlier this month due to lack of payment.

Crider & Crider Inc. returned to work on Monday, The Bloomington Herald-Times reported. Another subcontractor stopped working last week, but has also resumed work.

In 2014, I-69 Development Partners LLC, led by Dutch-based Isolux Infrastructure Netherlands, was hired to upgrade 21 miles of the current Indiana 37 route between Bloomington and Martinsville, with the state paying $80 million up front and making annual payments of $21.8 million a year for 35 years, with possible adjustments for inflation.

Crider, which is responsible for the project's earth-moving operations, was owed more than $2.3 million. A non-performance notice the Indiana Finance Authority sent to I-69 Development Partners on Sept. 6 said more than $9 million was owed to highway construction contractors.

The finance authority sold nearly $244 million worth of tax-exempt private activity bonds on behalf of I-69 Development Partners in July 2014 to help finance the project. The funds are kept in a trust and are released to I-69 Development Partners on a monthly basis. I-69 Development Partners then uses that money to pay Isolux.

Company president Steve Crider said some payments have been made, but money is still owed to his company.

Harold Force, president and CEO of Force Construction, said payments to his company are not up to date, but crews have continued working.

"Each of the major subcontractors may have slightly different terms and conditions and payment dates," Force said. "All we can do is respond to the agreement we have."

The state is awaiting an updated construction schedule from Isolux Corsan, which is due Oct. 3. Until that is received, the state is conservatively estimating the project will be completed by October 2017. The original expected completion date had been Oct. 31 of this year, but that was delayed at the end of 2015 to June 2017 due to issues in obtaining permits.

In the wake of the delays, two credit agencies have downgraded ratings on the bonds issued to help finance the project.

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