Business owners concerned over Matlacha bridge delays
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
MATLACHA, Fla. - Mechanical problems are delaying the new Matlacha bridge project, and business owners are not happy.
In fact, they want to know who's going to pay them for their losses. Construction on the new drawbridge began 2 years ago.
Traffic should have been flowing on the new bridge last month, but recent tests on the new drawbridge revealed a problem.
"We started hearing noises coming out of the mechanical portion of the bridge, so we kinda just stopped and are doing some investigations," explain project manager Sarah Clark.
The project grinding to a halt after a problem with the bearings in the bridge's pivot.
The November competion date now pushed back to January.
"Probably a third of my business has been gone in the past 2 years. If it goes into yet another season, then that's another third of my business that's just going to be gone," says Jim Frock, owner of Seven Seas Bait and Tackle.
The county's D.O.T. director getting an earful at this morning's commission meeting after asking for an additional $300,000 for project oversight.
"How much of the total project cost today is unexpected expenditure," asks commissioner Brian Bigalow.
A question the project manager couldn't immediately answer.
"We're putting those numbers all together right now," says Sarak Clarke.
Clarke says delays aren't thethe county's fault, and any cost overruns could be collected from the contractor at $8,500 a day.
Not good enough for business owners like Frock. "I think some of it should go back to the businesses that are losing money like me."
But will that happen? We asked the county.
Clarke's answer: "We don't have any mechanism for that."
The manufacturer of that pivot is changing out the grease and the bearings, along with designing a new pin.
And traffic should be flowing on the new bridge in 3 weeks.