City to take another look at Rocky Ford Road consultant issue

Plans to Improve Rocky Ford Road have been set back a step after state officials found fault with the way the city of Columbus selected a consultant.

David Hayward, City Engineer and Executive Director of Public Works, says that the city received a letter from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) that indicated that “certain processes weren’t followed.” He added that the letter from INDOT did not elaborate on what those processes were. However, Hayward says that INDOT recommended that the city begin the consultant selection process again, which is already underway. Failure to do so, said Hayward, would cost the city over $500,000 in federal funds.

The issue is seemingly tied to the administration change at City Hall. Last year, the Columbus Board of Works initially considered giving the contract to Indianapolis-based Janssen & Spaans Engineering. City officials later awarding it to United Consulting. Shortly after Mayor Jim Lienhoop replaced Kristen Brown at City Hall, the city looked at the issue again and reverted back to the original decision to award the contract to Janssen & Spaans.

Hayward says that this new development is not expected to delay the start of work on the Rocky Ford Road project. He says that work is expected to begin late this year or early next year, with completion by the end of 2017. Improvements are to include the widening of lanes, the addition of a bike lane and other amenities.