HERNANDO BEACH — Equipment failures and inclement weather halted the dredging of the Hernando Beach Channel this week but county officials are hoping that contractor BCPeabody is back at work very soon.
County Administrator David Hamilton and Transportation Services Director Susan Goebel plan to be on site first thing Monday to impress that vital point, said Brenda Frazier, county spokeswoman.
The dredge project is on a tight timeline and if work isn't done by the Dec. 31 deadline, the county stands to lose the $6 million in state funding dedicated for the work. Frazier said the assumption is that the work is still on schedule but the established timeline indicates that dredging is taking place every day in June and that has not happened.
In her weekly update of the project, Frazier also mentions that the county officials hope that BCPeabody's work has fixed its problem with the clarity of the water from the spoils after filtering. The contractor has modified the process of doing that after several samples early on showed unacceptable levels of turbidity.
Whether the changes will work can't be known until the actual dredging begins again next week. The issue of the clarity of the water after filtering is what doomed the last contractor on the snakebit project.
Another problem arose recently when a boater severed the dredge line. The line was fixed immediately.
County officials will be bringing forward a proposed ordinance to the County Commission on June 14 that would establish a "no-wake buffer to ensure further protection to the dredge site and facilitate public safety,'' Frazier wrote in her update.
While BCPeabody missed the first deadline to turn in turbidity reports to the county and the state, the company met the second deadline, and Frazier noted that the county expects BCPeabody to meet every deadline from now to the end of the project.
Friday was also the first meeting of the dredging advisory board. The board, made up of representatives from the Hernando Beach community, the Port Authority and private business interests, is supposed to be a liaison to the community on issues related to the project.
Also at the June 14 County Commission meeting, the board will consider hiring A Civil Design Group as its construction manager on the dredge project. Negotiations with the firm have been ongoing since they were ranked as the top pick by commissioners late last month.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.