Completion of new Matlacha Bridge pushed to 2013
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Oct. 2, 2012
“We were really hoping it would be open by now.”
Construction on the new Matlacha bridge began 2 years ago. But the project is behind schedule.
“It's just been too long.”
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.” Sarah Clarke with Lee County DOT said.
The project grinded to a halt after a problem with the bearings in the bridge's pivot.
“It's just ridiculous, it's supposed to be all tore down and driving on that one the beginning of this month, and now it's whenever.” Local business owner Jim Frock said.
The November completion 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.” Jim Frock said.
The county's DOT director gets 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?” Commissioner Brian Bigelow asked.
A question the project manager couldn't immediately answer.
“We're putting those numbers all together right now.” Clarke said.
The county project manager tells me the delays aren't their fault, and any cost overruns could be collected from the contractor at $8,500 a day.
“I think some of it should go back to the businesses that are losing money like me.” Frock said.
But will that happen? I asked the county.
“We don't have any mechanism for that.”
Officials say they are addressing the problem and traffic should be flowing on the new bridge in 3 weeks.