LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County is seeking more money to give more time to a contractor to wrap up the work on the new Matlacha draw-bridge. Lee transportation will ask commissioners for $350,000 to carry until the project is done.
"The design and inspection contractor needs some more money to extend the contract because this has run longer than we thought it would," says Dave Loveland, dir. of Lee Transportation.
The money would come from another road project that finished, under budget.
"The contractors have run into all kinds of problems on this one, including having to remove parts of a structure that was there, before the old bridge. In the 1960s, they just sank the structure to the floor of the bay. It was a bit of a surprise to find that. Now the workers are having to remove a lot of that material and debris," says Loveland.
"I am so ready for this to be done, please just get it down and go somewhere else," says Jim Frock, owner of Seven Seas Bait and Tackle in Matlacha.
"I have lost 25 to 30 percent of my business. Parking is difficult. People don't want to stop or come here, once they see all the construction work."
"It has been rough on many businesses. I feel the planning has been bad, just horrible," says Lisa Dence, a business owner in Matlacha.
"They are telling us now, it should be finally done, in August or September," says Loveland of the DOT.
Lee county is calculating possible damages against the main contractor on the project. It was supposed to have been finished in the fall of 2012. The work began two years and eight months ago.