City council members say they are taking legal action against contractors for ongoing delays and costs associated with the city’s Canton Road upgrade project.

The city council approved change order No. 6 for Canton Road at their most recent meeting, March 16, which increases the contract originally awarded to IOC Company by $92,791. That cost includes utility delays, engineering plan errors, utility conflicts and enhancements to the project, according to IOC.

The council mulled legal action against IOC and related utility companies for at least two hours during its executive session in which the city confirmed its intention to recoup money given to contractors since the project’s inception. Council members originally approved $4.7 million in March 2008 for paving and drainage improvements to the road.

“I imagine we’ll recover this, but it has been a horrible project through no fault of the city’s doing. There has just been some problems with the utility companies, which will probably lead to legal repercussions,” said Council member Gene Espinosa at the meeting. “It is what it is, and even though I don’t like spending more money, well here we are.”

The change order for Canton is the most recent public announcement by the city of major problems facing other road projects scheduled for completion this month. On Jan. 19, the city council approved Change Order No. 3 that adds an additional $32,000 for drainage and paving to its Jackson Road project. Engineering firm, Pharr-based R. Gutierrez Corporation, formally requested the amount in open letters to city engineers, along with an additional 15 days for the project’s completion, which was denied by the city council. The original cost of the $2.7 million Jackson Road project has now been increased by $92,000 after three change orders.

“I am against these change orders, but I understand we have to do this and it has to be done,” said Council member Alma Garza about the Canton Road project. “I want to make it clear, since I am trusting staff’s word that we are going to go for these monies, and try to recover these monies.

“I know that none of us like change orders, and I’m getting worried that the citizens are tired of the change orders, especially on this job,” Garza said.