Frustrated by delays that have left construction of a loop road through central Rosslyn nearly two years behind schedule, Arlington officials have fired the project's contractor.

The bridge was supposed to ease traffic congestion in Rosslyn. But delays and cost overruns have made the project a headache for Arlington officials and for drivers who have to squeeze by the project's scaffolding, which has narrowed lanes in the 1100 block of Wilson Boulevard since early 1988.

The bridge's cost originally was set at $789,000, but Arlington public works officials said this year that engineering delays had pushed the figure to $1.4 million.

Arlington officials fired the contractor, D.C. McClain Construction Co. of Fredericksburg, Va., after McClain missed the project's July 1 completion deadline. The company said it needed six more months and an additional $150,000, mostly to reinforce steel tubes to prop up the bridge.

Arlington public works Administrator Dennis Johnson said the county has asked the project's insurer, the Fidelity and Deposit Co. of Baltimore, to find another contractor to complete the project. Johnson said three months of work remains to be done.

McClain "flat out missed {the deadline} completely," Johnson said. "We weren't happy with the way things were going."

McClain officials could not be reached for comment.

The project has been plagued by problems from the start. It was delayed shortly after construction began, when the county discovered it needed to recalculate the measurements of two buildings that are supposed to abut the bridge.

Design flaws in the original plan for the sloping, curving bridge resulted in further delays and raised the cost of the project, said Johnson. He said about $500,000 dedicated to the project remains and should be enough to finish the loop.

"This is one of those {projects} that it seems like everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong," Johnson said. "We'll all be glad when it's done, but I'm not saying for sure when that will be."