Work goes on in Waterbury despite allegations against contractor

By  | 

WATERBURY, Vt. (WCAX) The Vermont Agency of Transportation announced late last month an investigation into allegations of "willful nonconforming construction services" against Vermont contractor J.A. McDonald. Now state and local leaders are weighing in on the safety concerns of the company's work.

The investigation deals with two bridges built by the company in Bennington and Guilford. They have also been contracted by the state to do the multi-million dollar overhaul of downtown Waterbury and work on Route 2 in Cabot.

Some are questioning the safety of J.A. McDonald's work after a whistleblower accused them of cutting corners in building two bridges in southern Vermont. The Agency of Transportation says the company is no longer eligible to work on AOT projects or on projects that use AOT grant funds.

While Officials stress that there's no public safety risk on the bridges, the attorney general's office is still investigating the allegations. "We're certainly concerned in regards to the allegations and we expect to work toward some sort of accountability and resolution in the near future," said Veront Attorney General T.J Donovan Wednesday.

Eric Boyden, the president J.A. McDonald, says the bridges in question were built in 2008 -- when the company was under different ownership. He also says they're a small Vermont company with a history of quality work across the state.

Despte the ongoing allegations, work on the $21 million infrastructure overhaul in downtown waterbury continues. That project includes new water, sewer and electric lines.

Waterbury Municial Manager Bill Shepeluk says the construction company built the roundabout several years ago and that they've been a reliable company. "In this proejct, the work is high-quality and they have gone out of their way to try to address all the concerns the public has risen over dust and traffic and water shutoffs and the like," he said.

The state says they do intend to pursue legal action and are reviewing potential contract claims.

The AOT says it has assigned additional oversight to the current projects to ensure the integrity of the work meets the contract requirements, which were signed before the investigation.