Road fix, extension set as lawsuit continues

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GREENFIELD – Plans are in place to redo a deficient stretch of road through a developing business park as litigation over the defect continues.

The road will also be extended to accommodate a development coming to the park.

The city of Greenfield filed a complaint last year in Hancock County Circuit Court against GAI Consultants’ Indianapolis office and Indianapolis-based Milestone Contractors.

Greenfield entered into agreements with both companies over infrastructure for Progress Park on the city’s north side, where Elanco Animal Health and a BeijingWest Industries plant operate. The agreement addresses extending Opportunity Parkway, a road spanning west from State Street to where it currently terminates north of BeijingWest Industries.

According to the complaint, GAI and Milestone didn’t properly handle unsuitable soils near a mitigated wetland in their work on one of Opportunity Parkway’s phases, leading to cracks in the road.

“The geotechnical investigations performed by GAI and its consultants were inadequate based on frequency and location of borings and tests performed,” the complaint states, adding that GAI and Milestone were negligent.

The complaint accuses both companies of breach of contract and seeks compensation for damages.

GAI filed a response in the case asking for a judgment in its favor, arguing that the city “accepted the risk that subsurface conditions could differ from those encountered at the time and location where explorations or investigations were made.”

GAI also filed a complaint in the case against Indianapolis-based Earth Exploration, which did geotechnical evaluation at Progress Park for GAI. If any negligence is found in the case, Earth Exploration should be responsible, according to GAI.

Milestone filed a response seeking a judgment in its favor as well, stating that the city’s damages, if any, “were caused, in whole or in part, by unforeseen subsurface conditions, including unsuitable soil conditions of which the plaintiff was aware or should have been aware of.”

The contractor also accuses the city of breach of contract for not paying for the work performed in accordance with their agreement until the city issued a stop-work order stemming from the unsuitable subsurface conditions.

A jury trial is currently scheduled for April 2023.

The Greenfield Board of Public Works and Safety approved an agreement this month with Indianapolis-based Shear Property Group, which has plans for two speculative warehouses on about 65 acres in Progress Park at the southeast corner of Fortville Pike and CR East 300N.

The agreement calls for Shear to fund the reconstruction of the failed portion of Opportunity Parkway, which is planned to swing farther south to avoid conditions that rendered the original alignment unfit. Shear will also build a road connecting Opportunity Parkway to CR 300 to the north that the city will buy.

Realigning the failed portion of Opportunity Parkway is estimated to cost about $500,000. Should it exceed that amount, Shear will be able to seek compensation for the excess from the city’s tax increment financing funds, according to the agreement.

The agreement also states that if the city wins a settlement from its lawsuit against GAI and Milestone, that will be used to offset the costs of the reconstruction.

Greenfield’s board of works approved new soil borings to precede the stretch of Opportunity Parkway’s realignment as well.

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