Complaints about the slow pace of construction prompt BOCC questions

DOT officials acknowledged that the $25 million expansion of U.S. Highway 319 is behind schedule and won’t be finished on time.


Wakulla County commissioners heard from the chief road engineer on the U.S. Highway 319 expansion over concerns about the slow pace of work.

At their meeting on Monday, March 4, commissioners said there had been complaints from citizens about lack of work on the project, and they expressed concern about the unfinished road construction site being a hazard to motorists.
Gabriela Corbin, the engineer for the project, acknowldged that the expansion of 319 started 4 years ago for a projected cost of $25 million and in 25% behind schedule.
She did say the contractor, Anderson Columbia, had incurred some problems during the project, such as Covid, personnel shortage, and supply-side issues, but said the contractor is behind scheduel and will run out of time at the end of May.
She anticipated that there will be negotiations with the contractor to add time and money to the project for additional work to be done at the new Whiddon Lake Road intersection would likely extend the project’s completion date to sometime in late summer – August, say.
County Administrator David Edwards asked if the contract with the state provides for liquidated damages for breach of contract for failing to finish the project on time.
Corbin said the contract does provide for $10,000 a day penalty for not finishing the project on time – but again stressed that the penalty was unlikely to be invoked until the fall.
Greg Slay, executive director of the Capitol Region Transportation Planning Agency, which recommends road projects in the area, told members of the the Wakulla Rotary Club recently that he had been told the 319 expansion would be completed by Oct. 1.
Slay also noted that the portion of the highway from the Wakulla-Leon county line north is in the pipeline for fourlaning.
The portion of the project from Wal-Mart to Wakulla Arran Road (where McDonalds is located) would be the next phase through Crawfordville, but right-of-way has not been purchased through that section.