In Wallkill, NY, a project to renovate Exit 122 of Route 17 was re-bid on Tuesday with provisions that mandate a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). Work on the project was halted in March when the original, lowest bidder began legal proceedings to fight for the contract because it went to the second-lowest bidder. This bidder, A. Servidone/B. Anthony Construction, bid with a PLA while the low bidder, Lancaster Construction, did not.
The New York Department of Transportation did a study which concluded a PLA would be beneficial to the project, thus rendering Lancaster’s lawsuit ineffectual. Re-bids are now being received until August 23rd and work will begin within 45 days. The project will begin in September and go as long as the weather allows.
Town Supervisor Dan Depew, though, told the Times Herald-Record that he worries about another lawsuit:
“I just hope that the DOT made the right decision, and I hope they get back to work as soon as possible,” he said.
The delay in the project hurts both local construction workers and citizens of the region:
The project — part of the ongoing upgrade of Route 17 into Interstate 86 — was expected to employ between 50 and 100 people at any given time, and improve access to a busy area of the town that includes Orange Regional Medical Center.
“I’m really happy the DOT did it so quickly,” said Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, D-Forestburgh. “It’s important that (the) project gets back underway.”
While anti-union contractors continue to argue that PLAs drive up prices, examples abound that prove the contrary. Walkill, NY now aims to become the latest pro-PLA case study.