TREASURE ISLAND — Multiple cracks in the walkway along the city's recently completed 1-mile beach trail have pushed the city to file a warranty claim against its architect and contractor.
City officials want Graham-Booth Landscape Architecture, which did the design and engineering, and Biltmore Construction, the contractor, to resolve the issue by either replacing sections where the cracking has occurred or repairing the cracks.
Cracks began popping up in the concrete even before the official dedication in April, and city officials say it has gotten worse.
"We have a one-year warranty on the beach trail," said Jim Murphy, public works director.
Phil Graham IV, managing principal with Graham-Booth, said he walked the trail recently and looked at the cracking and has discussed the problem with his design team.
"We decided to invest in consultants to investigate the issue and draw some conclusions," he told the City Commission recently. "We are currently in a testing mode."
The firm is boring holes into the concrete and also doing density testing of the soil underneath, Murphy said.
"The problem could be either design, construction or a combination of the two," Murphy said.
Two consultants are working to resolve the problem, Graham said.
"We have a process in place that will take a month before we can have a report," he said.
At Tuesday's City Commission meeting, Graham told commissioners he needed a few more weeks to finish researching the problems.
"To speculate on how to mitigate the problem now would be premature," he said. "The investigation is still ongoing. I will contact the city manager immediately when we have an answer."
At last count, City Manager Reid Silverboard said there were 106 cracks noted, up from a first count of 60. He suggested that Graham's company should be checking the trail at regular intervals to determine if new cracks develop.
"More and more of our residents are finding them," he said. "This is certainly an embarrassment for the city."
Graham, who said his company has been in business for 45 years, said this was the first time that it had been presented a claim for defects.
"We want to do everything we can so that the beach trail brings lots of visitors to the city," he said.
Commissioner Phil Collins questioned whether sections would need to be replaced, but Graham said he wouldn't know until the report was completed. Unless sections are replaced, Collins said it's possible more cracking could occur.