Beach contractor, county still haggling over price for sand project

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Work restoring county beaches has been underway for a week, even though a more than $500,000 cost increase with the sand contractor remains in question.

Ranger Construction is still working out the numbers with county staff and consultants, trying to justify $545,000 in unexpected costs associated with the project.

County staff told commissioners Tuesday that the project itself is not in danger of Ranger walking off the job while the change order is negotiated.

County Engineer Chris Mora said the sand contractor has a $7.2 million contract in place and can’t just walk away without sustaining penalties. He said that both the county and the contractor are continuing to negotiate and expect to come to a resolution.

When that happens, the change order will come back to commissioners for approval. How much of the requested $545,000 Ranger would get remains to be seen.

County leaders have said they expected to be able to negotiate the number down from $545,000 due to a cost savings Ranger would realize by not having to haul sand from as far away as it had originally planned.

Mora told commissioners, though, that Ranger said other expenses – including providing coarser sand and increased testing of the sand – would exceed the amount the company would have saved on transportation.

Mora also told commissioners that the county is working with Ranger to get a price for an additional 114,000 cubic yards of sand to replace what was eaten away by winter storms since the previous beach survey. The cost is expected to come before the board as another Ranger change order.

As for the beach replenishment project itself, Mora said Ranger representatives said that they expect to operating at full speed by Friday with 5,000 cubic yards of sand being dumped on the beaches every day, six days a week. They expect to deliver 300 truck loads of sand daily.

Golden Sands and Wabasso beaches will remain closed until April 30, while Seagrape Trail will close in mid March, and Turtle Trail at the start of April.

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