FDOT photo taken June 15, 2021.

Unable to meet the milestones set forth by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), D.A.B. Constructors has been defaulted and removed from the diverging diamond intersection (DDI) at S.R. 56 and I-75.

One of the milestones needed to be met by June 28, and was not. In addition, on June 25, “DAB notified FDOT they were demobilizing from the project,” according to FDOT spokesperson Kristen Carson.

Carson said FDOT will work with the surety company, which is required to provide a replacement contractor, to complete the project. 

A message left with DAB vice-president Bill Bachschmidt was not returned.

The DDI construction has been ongoing since early 2019, and had an original schedule of 800 days, resulting in a finish date of April 2021. That did account for delays due to rain and holidays, but Covid-19 made a major impact when it caused delays and shortages of materials for the project.

But last fall, Pasco County and FDOT addressed issues with DAB, when county commissioner Mike Moore, who represents District 2 where the diverging diamond is located, delivered a harsh attack on what he saw as lackluster progress.

Moore criticized the lack of urgency and number of workers he noticed when driving through the construction site, and the Cypress Creek Town Center Property Owners Association (POA) — which includes the Tampa Premium Outlets, Costco and more than 20 other businesses located west of the interchange — made their concerns known as well.

David Gwynn, the FDOT secretary for District 7, imposed penalties on D.A.B. Constructors and threatened more if the deadlines could not be met. 

According to Carson, 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.

“DAB Constructors’ response included a recovery schedule showing a project completion date of October 2021,” Carson said. “From this schedule, (FDOT) established interim milestone dates that the contractor would need to meet in order to avoid being defaulted.”

Moore said after the public admonishment, he had seen some improvements early in 2021, but once again was noticing a lack of workers at the DDI site. The news this week was not shocking, and the project will likely not be completed until 2022, and by another company.

“I’m not surprised, I’m disappointed,” Moore says, “because they stated on multiple occasions they would be able to meet the deadlines.”

More than 100,000 vehicles pass through the interchange on a daily basis. The long-awaited DDI is designed to create fewer conflict points at the interchange, and despite looking more confusing, similar interchanges (like Florida’s first DDI at Exit 210 off I-75 in Sarasota) has been lauded for being safer and more efficient than your traditional junctions. 

Carson says FDOT is empathetic to impacts any project delays may cause to motorists, residents, and businesses, and will make adjustments to traffic signals and any other traffic control devices to accommodate extra traffic volume during the upcoming holiday season.

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment