TDOT’s Guardrail Investigation Clears KRD Corporation

Wed August 03, 2005 - Southeast Edition

CHATTANOOGA, TN (AP) One of the construction companies accused of installing bad guardrails has been cleared by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to resume working on state road projects.

“I guess they decided we were OK,” said Scott Brown, lawyer for KRD Corp., based in East Ridge. “As far as I know, it’s business as usual again.”

A whistle-blower told TDOT and a Nashville television station in January that Lu Inc. crews violated their state work contract by cutting the length of wooden and steel guardrail posts before sinking them in the ground. That led to a federal investigation of Lu and a TDOT survey of all 4,000 miles of guardrails in the state.

State officials claimed KRD also installed unsafe guardrails, a charge KRD officials disputed.

TDOT met with KRD officials May 20 to discuss allegations and reviewed the company’s work, and state spokeswoman Kim Keelor said in an e-mail to the Chattanooga Times Free Press that KRD was reinstated as a qualified bidder on July 5. KRD officials also promised to correct any problems found with its existing guardrails.

KRD has bid on one contract since but was not the low bidder, according to Keelor.

Lu still is banned from performing state road work even though an inspection of its guardrails in Georgia showed no problems. TDOT officials accused Lu in April of cutting guardrails, then sinking them only 12 inches instead of the 44 inches required by law.

Lu attorney Hal Hardin said he is “perplexed” why Lu has not been given a similar opportunity despite offering to inspect and repair its guardrails at its own expense. TDOT hired another company to take over Lu’s work.