The problems have been piling up for Section 5 of I-69 in Indiana, a segment that involves 21 miles of upgrades to existing state Highway 37 from Bloomington to Martinsville.
The state awarded the concession in 2014 to I-69 Development Partners. One of the key investors in that company, Spain’s Grupo Isolux Corsan Finance B.V., sold its interest in the concessionaire in May, as parts of the parent company headed into bankruptcy. But another part of Grupo Isolux Corsan is serving as the design-build contractor for the concessionaire. The design-builder failed to keep up with payments to its subcontractors, triggering a walk-off that stopped some work for a while. Officials at a key subcontractor, Crider & Crider, could not be reached for comment, but it has since resumed work, according to local media.
The project is running late, too, with the design-build contractor disputing the causes with state officials. Grupo Isolux Corsan calls the issues “relief events” relating to “geological and permitting issues, among others.” The delays, the company stated on Sept. 8, mean work scheduled to be done this month won’t be finished until next July.
Jim Stark, the Indiana Finance Authority’s director of public-private partnerships, said in a statement that, pending an updated construction schedule from Grupo Isolux Corsan, Indiana’s most conservative estimate for completion is October 2017.
Meanwhile, traffic and the disruption of the stopped work along the existing road are causing big headaches for elected officials. Everyone from Gov. Mike Pence (R), the vice presidential candidate, to the mayor of of Bloomington has weighed in on the difficulties. Pence has supported the state’s P3 initiatives, but one elected official said the trouble is a sign that Indiana’s use of public-private partnerships to finance road construction has been a failure.