Commissioners to decide whether to hold the line on sand project cost

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Contractor Ranger Construction is seeking $303,000 more to complete a North County beach replenishment project, due to rising gas prices, but county staff is suggesting commissioners just say no.

The Board of County Commissioners received a proposed change order in their agenda packets that would take the price of the ever-mounting beach project up to about $14 million, including design and monitoring.

Backup documents show that fuel prices have risen about 58 percent since the last change order on the project, but changes in the price of diesel is generally an inherent risk when contractors bid on a project requiring the use of dump trucks and other heavy equipment.

Ranger is trying to recoup about $1.08 per cubic yard of sand, taking what was supposed to be a “locked in” price of $15.66 per cubic yard up to $16.74 per cubic yard.

Phase Two of what is referred to as the Sector 3 project began on Feb. 28 and involves placing about 280,000 cubic yards of sand on beaches from Golden Sands Park north into the Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge area.

Construction must be completed and equipment off the beach by April 30 in preparation for the start of sea turtle nesting season. At the current rate of progress, Ranger Construction is running up against a tight deadline to finish on time.

In 2010, the county had to obtain a one-week extension of its permit and small areas of the first phase of the beach replenishment were left unfinished.

The original bid on the project was $7.27 million just for the sand and construction. Approval of this change order would take that price up to $10.62 million, plus costs for design work dating back to 2007 and three years of scientific monitoring after the project is completed to make sure the sand doesn’t wash out onto the hard-bottom reef just off-shore.

Should the sand be found to have impacted the hardbottom, the county may be required to construct an artificial mitigation reef at a cost of up to $1 million per acre of reef.

The decision was made to use trucked-in or “upland” sand to pump money into the local economy and create jobs while getting a better deal than previous dredge sand projects. Initial estimates for the Sector 3 project were about $19 million before sand miners got into the bidding process.

The Board of County Commissioners meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Commission Chambers in County Administration Building A. Meetings are televised live on Channel 27.

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