High Gas Prices Taking Toll on Roadwork Projects

By: 13 News
By: 13 News

TOPEKA, Kan. - A group of contractors attended Monday morning's Shawnee County Commission meeting to propose a cost adjustment clause be added to contracts for future public works projects, such as road construction. Dave Schmidtlein, Vice President of Schmidtlein Escavating spoke to commissioners on behalf of the group.

The clause would work both ways, in that if prices of fuel and asphalt oil increase to a certain percentage, the contractor fee would also increase. If the prices of fuel and oil decrease, the fee follows suit.

Schmidtlein also asked a cost adjustment plan be put into effect for projects currently underway.

Contractors say the rapid increase in oil prices is putting them way over budgets they set months ago.

Tom Vlach, Shawnee County Public Works, said if the county were to grant contractors everything they're asking for current projects, it would cost the county $342,000 for work on Croco Road at 21st and 29th Streets, and $199,833 on Wanamaker Road projects.

County officials seemed in agreement at Monday's meeting that they can't work the funds into the budget to pay contractors extra for current projects, but agreed something should be developed for future projects.

Commissioner Vic Miller raised the problem that if clauses aren't added to protect contractors, they may stop bidding on projects. "If we don't do something, there won't be anybody building," Miller said.

County Attorney Rich Eckert will work up wording for a clause to be added to future projects between the county and contractors. He expects to have a draft ready by next Monday.

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