Work on the diverging diamond project at State Road 56 and Interstate 75 in Wesley Chapel has been halted, and the project is not expected to be completed until after the holidays.
That news was announced by Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore during the Pasco County Commission’s July 6 meeting.
Moore told his colleagues that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) had found the company doing the work — D.A.B. Constructors — in default.
Kris Carson, department spokeswoman for FDOT’s District 7 office, explained the series of events in an email.
She said that in November 2020, FDOT “issued a Notice of Intent to Default (NOI) to the contractor due to concerns they were not proceeding at the pace required to meet the contractual completion date.”
In its response, D.A.B. Constructors “included a recovery schedule showing a project completion date of October 2021,” Carson wrote.
Based on that schedule, FDOT “established interim milestone dates that the contractor would need to meet in order to avoid being defaulted,” Carson’s email continues.
“One of the milestones was set for June 28, 2021, and the contractor did not meet this milestone.
“On June 25, 2021, D.A.B. notified the Department (FDOT) they were demobilizing from the project. As a result of missing the milestone, the Department (FDOT) defaulted D.A.B. on July 1, 2021,” Carson’s email says.
She also noted that “at the time of the default, D.A.B.’s schedule submitted to the Department (FDOT) showed a final completion date of Jan. 6, 2022, and the interchange would be in its final configuration in early November 2021. However, interim milestones on the projects critical path were not met to achieve that schedule. D.A.B. demobilized on June 25, 2021, which would further delay the project.”
Carson goes on to say that FDOT “will work with the surety company who is required to provide a replacement contractor to complete the project. At this time, FDOT is unsure how long it will take the surety to procure the replacement contractor but will work diligently to move the process as quickly as possible.”
During the July 6 county board meeting, Moore told his colleagues that motorists driving through the area likely would have noticed the work stoppage at that location.
“The company swore up and down they would get this done. They would meet the milestones. The timelines. They were moving along nicely, in the beginning, unfortunately, they slowed down again,” Moore said.
Despite the delay, Moore reiterated his support for the diverging diamond.
“It’s such a great project. It’s going to have huge benefits,” Moore said.
Still, the county commissioner expressed frustration.
“It’s unfortunate. It really is. Because who pays the price? It’s our citizens — that’s their taxes and they expect these projects to be done in a timely manner,” Moore said.
In her email, Carson said FDOT is “empathetic to impacts any project delays may cause to motorists, residents, and businesses and will make adjustments to traffic signals and any traffic control devices to help accommodate extra traffic volume” that’s typical during the holiday season.
She said D.A.B. is the prime contractor on two other projects in Pasco County: State Road 54, from Curley Road to Morris Bridge Road; and State Road 52, from the Suncoast Parkway to U.S. 41.
“The default does not apply to these state road projects,” Carson wrote.
Published July 14, 2021