CENTRAL FLORIDA - The Florida Department of Transportation is vowing to keep the I-4 contractor to the original timetable despite a financial report that said the contractor is 245 days behind schedule.
The report, which 9 Investigates first exposed Wednesday, claimed the project is now slated to be completed by September 2021, rather than the end of 2020.
The financial report claims the project is behind because “exposure to named storms and geology conducive to sinkholes.” It also highlights an issue workers have encountered downtown called “drill shaft failures.”
The report explains two different methods of drill shafts that were attempted and failed, while a third method was successful. It’s common in construction to test for the right method to support elevated road and bridges.
FDOT maintains the project is on time and on budget, that no time extension or financial considerations have been granted to the contractor, and that it is still reviewing the request for both.
“While the claim is being reviewed, construction activities are continuing and the contractor is being held to the terms of the contract with the original completion dates set forth in the agreement,” FDOT said in a statement. “The report is not the driver or final say in the department’s decision to approve or reject the concessionaire’s request for additional time.”
“Here in Central Florida it is inevitable when you drill these kinds of things in places we haven’t drilled before you are going to have surprises,” said financial expert Joe Bert.
Earlier this year, cracks were spotted in a bridge pier downtown. FDOT has not yet said what caused those cracks.
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