Sunday, February 25, 2018
News Roundup

County disagrees with contractor, says Hernando Beach Channel dredge isn't done

BROOKSVILLE — Last week, the chief executive of the contractor for the Hernando Beach Channel dredge proudly announced that the work was finished.

While most of the dredging indeed was complete, the county this week put BCPeabody on notice that it still has lots of work to do.

In a letter dated Tuesday, county environmental services director Susan Goebel chides BCPeabody executive Robert Carpenter for not having everything done as promised by Jan. 31.

"While we recognize that great efforts were made to ensure that dredging activities were completed by this date, the project in its entirety was to be completed by Jan. 31st,'' Goebel wrote.

The letter included a list of 33 tasks that must be completed before the county determines that the project is finished and considers paying BCPeabody the approximately $420,000 still owed on the project.

Originally, all of the work was to be completed by Dec. 31, the deadline set by the Florida Department of Transportation. Six million dollars of the project money came through the DOT.

But the county altered its contract with BCPeabody, allowing it to escape a $5,000-per-day fine as long as the work was "substantially complete'' by Dec. 31, which the county determined it was. And the DOT extended its deadline.

The county anticipated that everything would be wrapped up by the end of January. Now, Goebel notes in her letter that county officials expect to see all work wrapped up in the next month.

Among the tasks listed is removing a high spot in one of the canals off the channel that was created by a booster pump used to move sand through a pipe to shore during the hydraulic portion of the dredge, Goebel said.

The contractor also must return another canal to the natural depth indicated in the dredge permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Much of the remaining work involves BCPeabody collecting equipment, pipes, poles and debris; restoring lots damaged by the off-loading process; repairing the seawall at the off-load site; repairing the driveway at the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and repairing and cleaning up Calienta Street, which was partially closed during the operation.

A survey showing that the channel was dredged according to contract specifications, along with clearance from the DEP, must also be received to close out the project.

The contractor will also "repair, settle or file insurance claims for resolving concerns from property owners,'' Goebel wrote.

A number of property owners have reported damage to their docks and seawalls because of the dredge operation, and some in recent days have reported that their issues are still unresolved. The county is keeping a list of those individuals and is checking back to make sure that their concerns are answered, Goebel said.

Plus, the county is forcing BCPeabody to make sure its insurance company is responsive to residents with complaints, said Russell Wetherington, chief procurement officer for the county.

The county will hold the company's remaining payment until that happens.

"We want to make sure that they're diligent about this,'' Wetherington said.

BCPeabody's contract for the work was $8.7 million. The overall cost of the dredge is projected to end up between $15.1 million and $16 million.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

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