The agency announced last week that a Long Island-based contractor, J.D. Posillico Inc., will take over the project from Boston-based Modern Continental, a DOT spokeswoman said. "What happened was the project was technically supposed to be completed by 2004," said Eileen Peters, spokeswoman for the DOT. "However, in the meantime we received notice that Modern Continental was going to voluntarily default on the project. We attribute the default to their financial and business problems."Calls placed to Modern Continental were not returned.Peters said Modern Continental, which is also the lead contractor on Boston's massive, costly and delayed Big Dig highway project, defaulted on March 15 after completing 80 percent of the HOV lanes project."As of March 22 we had agreements in place with the new contractor to complete the job," she said.Despite the change in contractor, Peters said J.D. Posillico has promised the DOT that all work on the four lanes in each direction from the Little Neck Parkway's Exit 32 to Exit 40 in Westbury, L.I. will be completed by July 4, with $20,000-a-day fines levied if they miss their deadline. In fact, the Long Island contracting company has worked with the state Department of Transportation before, doing a majority of the work on the HOV lanes that already run through Suffolk County and most of Nassau County, the DOT said. To meet the deadline in three months, Peters said J.D. Posillico will triple its crews and work every night during the week except Saturday nights.The $880 million project to construct HOV lanes in Long Island started in the early 1990s, with the last portion to the Nassau border at Little Neck Parkway costing around $220 million, Peters said. "All that needs to be done is to put on the final asphalt, designate the HOV lanes, new signs, landscaping and guide rails," she said.Peters said the Department of Transportation was confident that J.D. Posillico's work would be satisfactorily completed in good time."This could have been a very difficult situation for the DOT and for taxpayers and commuters alike, but we feel like this is a very good resolution," she said. "This is not costing taxpayers or the state any additional costs, and we have a good expectation that they will get this job done and on time."Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at news@times
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