Jacksonville, FL - It started as a major traffic problem for your Thursday commute and soon became a $30,000 emergency fix.
And the Florida Department of Transportation says the state may be on the hook.
The good news is both ramps are back open Friday morning after being closed for about 24 hours. Crews pulled up the final cones around 5:15 a.m. You can see video of workers removing the cones at the WOKV Facebook page.
Road crews working on the Overland Bridge expansion were driving supports in to the road early Thursday when the vibrations caused part of the road to drop several inches.
“We had to shut it down to traffic or else there could have been vehicular or even personal injury damage,” says FDOT Spokesman Mike Goldman.
Both the ramps from Philips and Atlantic on to I-95 northbound were shut for the emergency repairs. Those were initially slated to be completed by noon, but Goldman says when they lifted up part of the road they found a problem.
“The erosion under the roadway was greater than anticipated,” he says.
Knowing crews would have to fill the support, repair the road and repave that portion pushed repair estimates first to 5 PM, then 9 PM, and now 11 PM. Goldman says they are very confident they will meet that deadline, as long as the weather holds out.
But once the road is repaired, the attention turns to how it happened- and who is paying.
Goldman says between the additional labor and materials, the emergency repairs will cost between $20,000-$30,000. Who is paying that will come down to who, if anyone, was at fault.
“Was it a preexisting condition [in the road] that we didn’t know about, was it something the contractor was doing, or something in the contract specifications about the way this work had to be performed- we don’t know,” Goldman says.
If the contractor can show this was just an unforeseen complication as a result of the site condition, Goldman says the state could be on the hook for the cost.
And this is just one phase of a $227 million project Goldman says is already running a little behind. He doesn’t expect today’s emergency repairs to significantly delay their overall construction on the Overland Bridge expansion, he says the contractor needs to pick up the pace to complete the project by its scheduled mid-2016.