Poinciana Expressway faces delays after rejected contractor files injunction



POINCIANA, Fla. - Residents in Poinciana are frustrated after hearing the Poinciana Expressway is facing yet another construction delay.

A contractor is filing an injunction to block the project.

The lawsuit could cost drivers even more money in tolls.

Poinciana drivers have long complained of needing an expressway.

"They've got one road out. This is unacceptable," said Osceola Expressway Authority Atlee Mercer.

The Osceola Expressway Authority recently announced it would move forward with plans to construct a 10-mile toll road.

The new Poinciana Parkway would give drivers quicker access to Interstate 4 and more than one way out of the community.

Soon after the group chose the Junior Davis construction company to build the project, there was a roadblock.

"Stuff happens, it's business," Mercer said.

The company that lost the bid, Lane Construction, has filed a federal lawsuit, alleging the board purposely favored the winner.

They want a judge to grant an injunction that would stall the project.

The board said it specifically considered designs that had a bridge going over Reedy Creek swamp to protect greenery like it from some environmental damage.

It said the delay could cost more money, not only for them but for drivers.

The authority chairman said they've already seen market rates for expenses go up over the last month.

He's concerned the longer they wait, the more costly the project could get.

"And then we could be hurt, we could be scrambling for additional cash infusions," Mercer said.

That could mean the proposed $1.75 and 50-cent tolls would have to go up if they can't make up the difference another way.

Until a judge tells them to stop, the authority plans to move ahead.

"We're pretending the lawsuit doesn't exist," Mercer said.

The appeal process has already pushed the project back by two months.

A hearing is set for October first for a judge to consider the lawsuit.