Contractor dispute resolved; good news for fence replacement

Contractor dispute resolved; good news for fence replacement

The temporary fencing at Willowbranch Creek along Riverside Ave. may yet be replaced with permanent balustrades this year.

At least, that’s if all goes according to plan now that the City Construction Dispute Resolution Board (CCDRB) has weighed in on the petition by The Touring Company to recover additional costs incurred during the lengthy project.

The bid to rebuild the Riverside Avenue bridge over Willowbranch Creek was awarded to David Touring back in May 2011 for just under $325,000. The project, which did not get underway until two years ago, was fraught with issues – acts of God, according to the City of Jacksonville’s project manager, poor design according to Touring, as noted in the CCDRB’s report.

When Riverside Avenue was finally reopened in December 2013 in a push to accommodate the annual luminaria event, there was still work to be completed. At that time, Touring was optimistic that he would get reimbursed for additional costs in a timely manner so that he could place the order for the permanent balustrades that would match existing ones on the other side of Willowbranch Park.

Unfortunately, the project ground to a halt when those funds were not issued. Touring’s claim was finally brought before the CCDRB on Oct. 30, 2014 and they issued their report a week later, adding just over $110,000 more to Touring’s bid.

Five months after the report was submitted, the temporary fence was still in place.

According to information received from the Public Works Department through Aleizha L. Batson, Deputy Director of Communications, “There’s been some delay as the city and Touring worked out an issue involving the surety and whether it had paid any claims (it did not). That has been resolved, so as of right now, we are proceeding in accordance with the “note” on page 6 of the CCDRB decision which outlines the steps involved in getting this project finished.”

Public Works also noted that a down payment has been made to Tabby Stone, the subcontractor who will made the decorative precast concrete balustrades.

“Our expectation is that once the balustrade contractor receives the $10,000 [down payment], it will set in motion the completion of this project, including the two other ‘punch list’ items to be completed by Touring as identified in the CCDRB decision,” noted Public Works. Those two punch list items include laying sod next to the sidewalk and adding a drainage concrete invert.

Although Public Works did not provide an estimate date of completion, an earlier conversation with Bill Joyce, Chief of Engineering and Construction, indicated that the balustrade replacement could take 12 weeks.

Click here to read the change order, including the CCDRB’s report.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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