ORLANDO, Fla. — The contractor working on the I-4 Ultimate project said roadblocks keep popping up on the way to getting that project done.
According to the contractor, SGL, most of the problems are centered in the busy downtown Orlando area.
For SGL workers, the rush hours are alright, but late-night events at the Amway Center and elsewhere cut into their typical 10 p.m. lane closures.
"You can't start taking major lanes away on an interstate when thousands of people are going to be dropped off in the downtown are, coming by car primarily,” said Steve Olson, with the Florida Department of Transportation.
FDOT admits it cannot plan for everything, including the Orlando Magic going to the playoffs or for changes in the way tolls are tracked forcing new structures and sensors to be added to the rebuilt I-4 through downtown.
WFTV reporter Field Sutton learned Wednesday that SGL now claims construction is 266 days behind schedule.
Officials said the blame for the delay falls, in part, on a single bridge support that is filled with cracks.
WFTV first reported on the issues last year near I-4 and Colonial Road.
The bridge finally opened in January, one year after it was scheduled to open.
Vehicles finally started crossing above Colonial on their way to I-4, but the bridge is still wired up as FDOT tries to figure out why the pier is cracked and what to do about it.
According to SGL, keeping a new bridge shut down for nearly a year cost both time and money on the road to fixing Central Florida's traffic woes.
Officials also said taking down the temporary supports surrounding that cracked pier did nothing to speed things up.
SGL now says it expects to finish "266 calendar days beyond the contractual dates."
Subtracting the legalese, it means cracked concrete may keep you waiting the better part of a year beyond the 2021 opening the state told I-4 drivers to expect.
"We are looking for a 75-year lifespan for this bridge, and we want to make sure that the state gets what it's paying for,” Mike Shannon, with FDOT, said in November. “We believe that we found through our testing that the bridge is structurally sound and right now we are just working on serviceability repairs."
Beyond the cracked pier, the company complains problems drilling to limestone are adding up, and hurricanes Matthew and Irma certainly didn't help.
The company claims all the issues have made finishing on time impossible. but FDOT said it's continuing to hold SGL to the original completion date unless future negotiations result in a change to the I-4 Ultimate contract.
SGL said it's trying to catch up and claims to have people out here working nearly constant overtime to get it done.
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