Performance Bond Debate Delays Bellaire Bridge Demolition
By Kelsey Kennedy, Producer/Digital Journalist - email
Benwood, W.Va. -
The deadline has come and gone for the owners of the Bellaire Bridge to hand over a $500,000 performance bond to the city of Benwood in order to start demolition.
That leaves the project, which hasn't started yet, at a standstill. The deadline enforced by federal court was June 20th. A $1,000 per day fine will now be imposed by the court on the owners of the bridge, Lee and Krystal Chaklos of Delta Demolition and KDC Investments.
The hold up is over a performance bond. Benwood Police Chief Frank Longwell says the bond ensures the completion of the very expensive demolition project. He says the estimated cost of the project is over three million dollars. Longwell is concerned about the portion of the bridge over the city and says roads and businesses would have to be shut down in order for demolition to begin.
"It just gives the city insurance in case he goes belly-up," Longwell says. "If something happens, we've got the roadway closed, all these businesses shut down, and no Lee. At least we'll have $500,000. We're still going to have to put possibly $300,000 of our own money to that just to complete the over land portion of the bridge."
But Lee Chaklos says handing over expensive bonds is not the way his company does business.
"There's nobody that wants to put $500,000 cash money, or wire, or a check, into the City of Benwood's bank account without their name being on the bank account," he says. "It's just not a good business decision, its not traditional. There's other's avenues."
Chaklos has enlisted the help of Virginia Congressman Scott Rigell. A meeting will be scheduled for all involved parties. Longwell says he is looking forward to the help as well. Both parties hope the congressman can facilitate an agreement and the project can get underway.