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Posen Construction will continue work on the Summerlin-Road widening project after the county agrees on a $1.9 million settlement with the company. / News-press.com file photo

1:10 P.M. — Six lanes of Summerlin Road should be open in April.

Lee County commissioners today decide on a $1.9 million settlement with Posen Construction clearing the way for the long-delayed road project riddled with faulty work, allegations and asbestos.

The project to widen the road between Cypress Lake and Boy Scout drives, which began in late 2007, should have been done last summer.

The agreement solves some of the legal issues hanging over the project but does not settle who pays the cleanup bill for a massive asbestos abatement project at the site.

"There's so much to that, we're going to have to wait to deal with that at the end of the project," said Lee County attorney David Owen. "The purpose of the settlement is just to get the project completed by April."

Tuesday's agreement, which already has approval from Posen, settles two main issues:

- Lee County will not reimburse Posen for any extra money spent rebuilding a faulty ramp wall at the College Parkway overpass.

- Taxpayers will pay the $82,000 for a piling lost to a previously undetected sinkhole.

The agreement has Lee County paying about $1 million within the next 10 days and the remaining $800,000 in installments as Posen completes work on the ramp and the entire project.

Outside of another $82,000 to reimburse Posen for materials lost to the sinkhole, the payments are part of the original $25.2 million project cost.

In the past five months, crews have sifted and hauled away 600 dump truck loads of dirt from the site after finding a few pieces of asbestos piping.

Workers have found six gallons of the cancer-linked substance in the dirt.

County officials would not speculate on the cost of the removal. But with county documents showing that trucking alone will cost $300 per load, the cleanup will be hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.

"We should not be paying any more at all," Commission Chairwoman Tammy Hall said. "The bottom line is we want to get this project finished."

Posen's attorney David Harper and officials from the construction company did not respond to repeated requests Monday for comment.

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At least 11 contractors say Posen owes them a combined $863,500 for work done on both Summerlin Road and Colonial Boulevard.

"I've not had a response from either Posen or (the company insuring the project) on the issue of nonpayment," said Beck Edwards, who represents trucking company Triple J. Documents show Posen owes the company around $135,000 for work on the projects. "But any money being paid to Posen is hopefully going to loosen up the purse strings to help pay the (subcontractors) on this."

Hauler and former Posen employee Mike Mattish is not so optimistic. He filed a claim for more than $9,000 on the Summerlin Road project.

The stalled payment, Mattish said, has forced him to sell his truck and lose his house. He is not confident he will be paid.

"(Posen) doesn't have enough money to finish that project," Mattish said. "They're bad news."

Posen's performance on the Summerlin Road project prompted county leaders to rethink how they award contracts, disqualifying companies with a questionable financial past.

"Once (Posen is) through with this project, we're going to look elsewhere for roadway construction projects," said Commissioner John Manning. "They've got some problems, some issues. They need to start paying their subs."

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