Extra dredge might save beach project’s schedule

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – The county’s beach restoration project might get back on track now that an extra dredge has arrived at the sand mine, according to county officials.

Ranger Construction, the contractor hired to rebuild beaches along the barrier island, had fallen behind schedule due to days of rain. With the third dredge now stationed at the mine, they hope to make up for lost time.

“We’re seeing some progress,” County Engineer Chris Mora told commissioners Tuesday during his regular beach update.

Nearly 40 percent of the allotted time for the project has elapsed, yet only 25 percent of the sand has been delivered, leaving some to question if the beaches will be restored by May 1.

Along with bringing in more equipment to pull more sand out of the sand mine, Ranger has enlisted more truckers to deliver the sand.

At this point, Ranger would have to deliver 5,600 cubic yards of sand to the beaches daily, equating to an average of 311 truckloads to complete the project on time.

On Monday, Ranger delivered 348 truckloads, the best day so far for the project, according to Mora.

“We’re thinking they’re going to make a lot of progress,” Mora said, especially if the third, much larger dredge, remains in operation.

County staff had thought earlier this month they would be able to work out contractual differences with Ranger by the Tuesday meeting. However, the county’s consultant, Coastal Tech, expects now to make a firm recommendation at the March 23 commission meeting.

At issue is nearly $500,000 Ranger wants the county to pay due to increased processing requirements on the sand. The county, however, wants to see that number lowered, citing what it considers to be decreased hauling costs due to the use of a closer sand mine.

At the time Ranger bid the project last year, county staff believed Ranger would be hauling 90 percent of its sand from a St. Lucie County mine. Later, Ranger shifted the mining to three mines equally. After that, it was decided that the vast majority of the sand would come from the Ranch Road Lake mine in Indian River County.

A representative from Ranger Construction told commissioners that the company has agreed to a $111,000 credit for hauling.

Ranger’s representative told commissioners the company is confident it can get the work done by the deadline.

The county is also considering a second change order to the contract that would provide and extra 114,000 cubic yards of sand needed to make up for sand lost in December and January storms.

County Attorney Alan Polackwich told commissioners and the Ranger representative that they should expect the requested change orders to the contract on March 23 to be the last.

“Whatever you decide at that point, it’s got to be it,” he said, adding that everyone knows what the scope of the project is and there should be no further need for changes. “It’s time to fix the contract price.”

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