Meeting with contractors set for Friday

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By Lisa King

State officials and the contractors for the Shelbyville Bypass will meet this morning in Frankfort to discuss the progress of construction of the bypass.

Mike Hancock, who was appointed as interim head the Transportation Cabinet after Joe Prather resigned this week, will attend the meeting, as will Chief District Engineer Matt Bullock, Kay and Kay officials and Shelby County's two state legislators, Rep. Brad Montell (R-Shelbyville) and state Sen. Gary Tapp (R-Shelbyville).

The gathering was the result of an exchange of letters between Montell and Prather in response to editorials in The Sentinel-News about the lack of progress on the 4.5-mile route that would link Ky. 55 west and north of Shelbyville. The project began in May 2006 and now isn't expected to be completed until late in 2010.

Montell said Thursday that he hopes the meeting will be productive.

“I just want to basically lay out where we’ve been and the lack of progress and see what Kay and Kay’s response is, and then see if there’s some sort of agreement that we might be able to come to on how we proceed,” he said.

Montell said that no matter the outcome of the meeting, the fact remains that the contractors have been working within the specifications placed on them by their contract with the state -- a contract that Prather admitted in his letter contains an excessive number of working days.

“We recognize that this particular project had too many working days assigned to it,” Prather said. “We expect this and similar experiences will help us improve the process by which we assign contract time to our projects.”

Montell said though he doesn’t know what the outcome of the meeting will be, he is optimistic.

“I just hope to reach an agreement on how to proceed that everyone can be satisfied with,” he said.