Bypass work may brake for budget



California's budget crisis is threatening to stall state funding for the East Sonora Bypass Project.

In the absence of a state budget, there might not be enough cash in the state's highway account after Sunday to cover costs for transportation projects statewide, Caltrans Director Jeff Morales said in a letter last week.

"At that point, we will be faced with the need to curtail, at least temporarily, construction and maintenance work throughout the state," he wrote.

The state faces a $38 billion budget shortfall, and although July 1 was the deadline for approving a budget plan, the Legislature has not done so. This isn't the first time California lawmakers have missed budget deadline. The delay has lasted into September in some years.

The fiscal crisis has cast uncertainty on the $70 million bypass project, which began in late 2001 and is designed to reduce congestion on Highway 108.

The project's prime contractor, Goodfellow Bros. Inc., has committed to continue the work even if payments from the state are held up.

However, R.M. Harris Co., the secondary contractor, isn't so certain.

"No one has told us in writing that we are not going to be paid," company President Dave Harris said this morning. "We will make that decision if that time comes."

R.M. Harris is under contract to build the project's bridges and overpasses.

Its partner on the project, Goodfellow Bros., which is handling the earthwork, would pay employees out of its own pocket until a state budget is passed, said Project Administrator Deanne Degn. Once a state budget is approved, Caltrans would reimburse the contractor, Degn said.

"We are willing to keep going for the time being," she said.

A Caltrans spokesman said R.M. Harris officials have not indicated that work would stop.

"As of this point, the project manager has not received anything that (R.M. Harris) would not go forward with the work they are doing right now," said spokesman Robert Spradling.

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Saturday October 22, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Columbia Elementary board ousts superintendent


Five days after receiving a 2 percent raise, Columbia Union School District ... more

Sheriff details investigation of Marshall murder-suicide


Philip Marshall acted alone in killing his two teenage children, a pet ... more

Paying the price


Chris Lusardi, of Sonora, is one of thousands of Tuolumne County residents ... more

County wants changes on wildfire risk assessment


Tuolumne County officials are preparing to fight in Sacramento for local residents ... more

Mudslide knocks out a portion of TUD’s ditch system


The Columbia ditch will be closed until Saturday, following a mudslide that ... more