County, sand contractor come to terms on $10.3 million beach project

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Work to restore the county’s beaches on the barrier island will continue and be completed by the April 30 deadline now that the Indian River County Board of Commissioners and Ranger Construction have hashed out their contractual differences.

The project’s price, however, has now climbed from the original $7.27 million to $10.32 million.

“Now we can work and know we’re going to be paid,” said Bob Schafer, vice president of Ranger Construction, after the unanimous vote by commissioners.  

At issue were costs associated with increased sand extraction and processing, a county-requested credit for sand hauling savings, and the need for additional sand in phase one of the two-phase project.

Commissioners approved allocating the remaining $545,000 from Ranger Construction’s first request for funds, along with another $1.7 million for an additional 114,552 cubic yards of sand to make up for erosion during winter’s storms.

They also approved a lump sum payment of $304,747 to Ranger to cover the additional expenses of a third dredge and overtime.

Schafer said after the meeting that the additional funds would leave his company whole by the time the work is done.

The approvals bring the projects current cost to $10.3 million, until Phase 2, when the county might find it needs more sand to combat erosion.

To that end, the commissioners were able to get an agreement from Ranger on the cost to dig, process, haul, dump and spread the sand for the second phase of the project — $15.66 per cubic yard.

“I want to fix the price right now,” Commission Chairman Peter O’Bryan said at one point during the negotiations. Ranger agreed to the $15.66 per unit price, even if the county finds it needs more sand over and above what the contract calculates.

While the meeting ended on a relatively harmonious note, with commissioners and the county administrator thanking Ranger Construction and county staff for their hard work and professionalism, it did not start that way.

Prior to taking an extended break to hash out the details and contract price, Schafer appeared almost willing to walk away from the project.

“If you want the trucking credit, I want (the increased cost of processing the sand),” Schafer said. “If you want to go down that road, I want it all and you’re not getting the credit.”

After the meeting, Schafer wouldn’t comment on how close he did come to washing his hands of the county project, but said it “was a very frustrating process.”

He added he knew this was the first of its kind in the state, but it should not have taken this long to come to an agreement over the price.

“You’ve always got to keep negotiating,” he said.

County staff recommended the commissioners approve a larger hauling credit, citing the shorter distance the sand has to travel from Ranch Road Lake Mine to the beaches than the other mines Ranger had anticipated using.

That credit would have been enough to nearly offset the request from Ranger for more funds, according to Public Works Director Chris Mora.

“I think we can argue here all day (over credits and costs,)” O’Bryan said. “I don’t see that getting us anywhere.”

As of March 18, Ranger Construction has had 32 percent of the needed sand in Phase 1 delivered and constructed 6,000 linear feet of dunes, according to Mora. There are 37 days – including Saturdays – remaining to complete the project, which will require Ranger to deliver an average of 322 truckloads of sand daily.

In the six days leading up to March 18, Ranger had an average of more than 322 trucks, helping to make up for time lost due to recent rains.

“If they can keep this level of production up,” Mora said, Ranger should be able to complete Phase 1 on time.


By the Numbers

Original Ranger Construction Contract: $7.27 million

Ranger Change Order #1: $984,502

Ranger Change Order #2 – 114,552 cubic yards plus additional costs: $1.79 million sand; $304,747 lump sum

Current Ranger Contract: 10.34 million

Current Coastal Technology Contract: $2.34 million

Potential Natural Impact: $1.6 million estimate for artificial reef – 3 years out

Current Project Cost Projection: $12.68 million (not counting reef)

Current Budget: $12.98 million

Current Funding: $13.1 million

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