Letter to the Editor

Contractor defends work on Highway 18 project

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following letter is in response to a letter to the editor from John Ed Regenold, which was published Saturday, May 9. That letter can be found here.

To the editor:

As the citizens of Mississippi County and the city of Blytheville know, there are always two sides to every issue. Please accept this as our version to Mr. Regenold's views voiced during his Saturday, May 9, 2015, letter to the editor.

First of all, the building of the Nucor plant versus the building of Route 18 through Blytheville cannot be an accurate comparison. None of us know what kind of engineering, budgets or contingencies were built into the Nucor plant. As far as Mr. Regenold's assertion the we knew Mississippi County "always had a water problem," this simply is not true. In fact, the summer before we bid this project, the contractor hired to relocate the utilities for this project did not have any problems with ground water at all.

Had the AHTD included soil borings, as most engineers do with their bid documents, one may have had an idea. But none were included in the information given to us to bid the job by.

The water table has only been a part of the problem with this project, although Mr. Regenold failed to mention any of the others. Maybe he has not been told of the myriad of other problems. We have endured three different changes in AHTD resident engineer management and have asked for information and resolution to problems for three years, some of which are still unanswered. We have asked for meetings with various AHTD authority, on a continual basis, to get the outstanding issues resolved. We even asked for meetings with the chief engineer and, if I'm not mistaken, Mr. Regenold himself, and have been denied.

We would like to assure everyone that although there has been some "feet dragging" going on, it hasn't been by us. We would be happy to meet with anyone, especially Mr. Regenold, to explain and educate the public as to what has transpired between us and AHTD over the last three years on this project. Contrary to Mr. Regenold's belief, we have EVERY intention of finishing the job. His comment that the "Highway Department has done about all they can do" is certainly open for debate. Maybe this is what he is being told.

On a positive note, we will say that over the last three months, AHTD and our personal have resolved more issues than the last three years combined. Hindsight aside, we think the current people involved are committed to getting this project completed as soon as possible. Which has been our intent all along.

Randal L. Persons
R.L. Persons Construction Inc.