By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

Ninth Street construction is way behind schedule and contractor Freeman Rock is not taking the citys advice on how to speed things up.

All we can hold them to are the final results, said City Engineer Mike Young.

Having started the project in mid June, Freeman Rock was given 70 days to re-pave the stretch of Ninth Street between H Street and Pebble Beach Drive.

So far they have ripped up the road to E Street, havent paved any of it and have seven more blocks to go.

With only one more week till their deadline, the contractors must file for an extension or face a $500 per day fine until project completion.

Not a prayer, said Young, when asked if Freeman Rock could finish it on time.

We suggested they close off Ninth and divert traffic to Eighth so they can do both sides of the street at once, Young said.

The suggestion was not taken, however, so work proceeds one side at a time.

Young, who is also the citys Director of Public Works, said the contractors may have legitimate reasons for the delay, but it is up to them to make those known and file for the extension.

Freeman Rock was also contracted by the city to pour the KidTown parking lot. The quality of that job was so poor, it had to be torn up and re-done last week.

There are no projections on when the job may be finished.

We are concerned that this project will not be finished before the winter rains begin, Young stated in a report to the City Council.

He has asked the contractor to develop a plan for closure of the project through the winter if necessary, according to the report.