Florida Keys News
Thursday, July 3, 2014
End of the roadwork approaches
Contractor has until Aug. 30 to finish Roosevelt

Welcome to Day Number 800 of the 820 original contract days in the state's reconstruction project along North Roosevelt Boulevard.

But that doesn't mean the $42 million job, which started upending Key West's main drag on April 23, 2012, will be finished on July 21, the original contract date.

Try sometime in August.

The stretch of U.S. 1 could remain under construction another month due to 30 built-in weather days granted to the contractor, the DeMoya Group of Miami.

DeMoya has until Aug. 30 to complete the job without being slapped with penalties, which start with a $10,000 per day plus "liquidated damages" of $6,762.05 per day, according to the contract with the Florida Department of Transportation.

"There's always seemed to be a little bit of confusion about the contract days, the completion date and everything else," said FDOT spokesman Dean Walters, who delivered his final report to city commissioners Tuesday night at Old City Hall.

FDOT has for many months been saying the "anticipated conclusion" is due sometime in August.

DeMoya can grab $10,000 per day as an incentive bonus if it finishes the work before July runs out, starting July 21.

"July 21 is the date for the maximum incentive available to the contractor, which is $1.2 million," Walters said. "After July 31, the bonus no longer exists. However, there have been days added to the contract ... for weather impact."

Those built-in delays weren't all for Key West weather, Walters said.

"If it's raining in Key Largo or Miami overnight, they can't bring asphalt down here," he said.

The construction zone remains a precarious place for drivers, bicycles and pedestrians. Of the 170 possible turns into restaurants, retail stores and neighborhoods, a few have been made more difficult by the construction crews, City Commissioner Mark Rossi pointed out Tuesday.

"We cannot make the driveway to the yacht club any wider," Jackie Hart said. "The boats would drop off the edge of the pavement. That's work on their own property that we can't address. We haven't turned a blind eye. I'm always available."

Rossi said Hart missed a recent meeting about the line-of-sight. She protested his version of events, but agreed to come to the next one, promised for sometime over the next two weeks.

"I just want to put you on notice that it's not all rosy," Rossi said from the dais at Old City Hall. "There's going to have to be another meeting as soon as the dust settles here. This problem is going to be solved."

Ten years in the making before a single inch of pavement was touched in 2012, the Roosevelt Boulevard project was originally supposed to last 1,200 days, or 3.5 years, which would have marred three consecutive tourist seasons for Key West.

The state set the contract for 820 days instead. FDOT officials site several examples of how they worked with locals.

Adding an incentive clause was the idea of then-City Manager Jim Scholl, who returns this week as interim manager.

Another change made to suit locals was scrapping plans for an aluminum safety railing along North Roosevelt, which Key West residents claimed was an ugly addition that would ruin the view of the water.

Instead of aluminum, the state chose a 9-inch by 24-inch concrete cap.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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