Wesley Chapel, Florida -- When the I-75 widening contract was issued March 14, 2011 for the portion between SR-54 and SR-56, 565 days were allotted.
FDOT approved about 300 extra days for things like weather and holidays, and that takes us to Summer of 2013. But the contractor, Better Roads Incorporated, is 200 days behind that, costing them $6,000 per day and you nearly seven extra months of headaches.
The Florida Department of Transportation chose Better Roads because they had the lowest bid, but FDOT was not prepared for this magnitude of delays. In fact, FDOT's John McShaffrey said the department expects to increase contract days by roughly five to 10 percent on major projects like this one that involve interstates, but that this delay is so appalling the department has decided to remove Better Roads from their list of qualified contractors.
"They can't bid on anymore Florida jobs and get them at this point for the Department of Transportation," McShaffrey said.
Better Roads is or has been late on roughly 14 out of 22 projects all issued around the same time as the I-75 contract, and while removing a contractor from a project for being late is possible, it's not necessarily the best option for speeding things along.
"You never want to go to that point because you're going to have a couple of months at least in between while you get all the paperwork done and get another contractor on board. But that could be the ultimate result of a project that gets way behind," McShaffrey said.
McShraffrey also says that contractors know how to work the legalities of the system, often making just enough progress to prevent FDOT from taking action against them. In this case, replacing Better Roads could take as long as allowing them to finish, as much as two to three months which would stop work completely while the switchover is made.
Based on the number of penalty days assessed against Better Roads Inc., at this time in this project alone, barring future negotiations, your headaches are worth roughly $1.2 million to the company that's causing them.
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