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Six companies want to tackle long-stalled Hernando dredge project

BROOKSVILLE — Six companies want to take over the troubled and long-delayed Hernando Beach Channel dredging project.

The list includes BCPeabody of Tampa, two other Florida firms and three out-of-state dredging companies.

During the last round requesting proposals, only BCPeabody submitted a bid. But the County Commission rejected it based on cost, opting instead to seek a different, more flexible permit. The hope was that the added flexibility would speed up the dredging process and make it cost less.

With the new permit in hand, the county again requested proposals.

Monday was the deadline for interested firms to submit their qualifications to the county. The companies have until the end of business Friday to submit their price bids.

The bids will be opened Monday, when the County Commission holds a special public hearing beginning at 9 a.m. to allow the first four firms to make their presentations to the board.

The other two will present to the board Tuesday afternoon after the regular commission meeting. The board will rank bids and decide the company with which they will negotiate a contract.

In addition to BCPeabody, the other firms that have submitted their qualifications are Great Lakes Dredge from Burlington, Iowa; Byrd Brothers Emergency Services of Wilson, N.C.; Center Contracting Corp. of Heathrow; Palm Beach Marine Construction of West Palm Beach; and C.F. Bean, Belle Chase, La.

BCPeabody had come under scrutiny before because the firm had planned to use developer and former road builder Gary Grubbs as a subcontractor. He had a history of financial troubles with Hernando County and continues to have financial issues at a project in Pasco County.

Grubbs was not a part of BCPeabody's last proposal, but since the information submitted so far by the companies is sealed, it is unclear whether Grubbs is part of the latest package.

The firm also planned to use Piedroba Marine Construction as the dredging subcontractor. That subcontractor left a job in Southern Shores, N.C. ,when the contractor was found in default. The firm that replaced that contractor to conclude that job is Byrd Brothers, one of the other firms interested in the Hernando Beach dredge.

The project to widen, straighten, lengthen and deepen the channel has been in the works for more than 16 years, tied up in legal, financial and environmental issues. The state has provided $6 million for the project, which was previously budgeted at $9 million.

That price is expected to grow even though the county has agreed to provide some of the work itself, including some earthmoving.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Six companies want to tackle long-stalled Hernando dredge project 03/01/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 8:13pm]
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