Hollywood Beach construction project ‘1.8 miles of hell,’ resident says

A1A project started in October 2017, projected to be done in February 2020

According to the latest predictions, the Florida Department of Transportation now says the A1A project in Hollywood Beach won’t be finished until February.

HOLLYWOOD BEACH, Fla. – "The Hard Rock went up faster,” an angry Patty Netting at Capone’s Flicker Lite Liquors said.

Netting and others who work and live on Hollywood Beach want it done.

"It’s 1.8 miles of hell,” said a store owner who asked not to be identified because he fears repercussions from workers.

According to the latest predictions, the Florida Department of Transportation now says the A1A project in Hollywood Beach won’t be finished until February.

It's the latest delay in a project that started in October 2017.

Once this project is done, it’s not over.

The newly constructed sidewalk on the west side of A1A will have to be torn up again at the end of the year so Florida Power & Light can bury existing power lines.

“No one is telling us anything that is going on. We are about to close the store,” Sophia Khamum of Joe’s Supermarket said.

Khamum’s supermarket is and has been surrounded by barricades, lane shifts and construction equipment, and Khamum claims it’s been chaos for more than two years.

“I don’t see anyone really working on it. I don’t see a sense of urgency,” George Cotsopoulos, manager of Giorgio’s Bakery & Bistro, said.

Some residents have described the construction project along a nearly two-mile stretch on A1A as "hell."

“It’s a disaster,” Netting added.

As part of the project, A1A from Sheridan Street south to Monroe Street is set to be resurfaced, sidewalks widened, bike lanes added and ADA-compliant ramps put in.

Lights, pedestrian signals and drainage systems will also be upgraded in the end.

Business owners said on the weekends it could take up to 45 minutes to get from Sheridan street to Hollywood Boulevard on A1A.

It’s a $9.3 million project.

The Florida Department of Transportation hired Community Asphalt to do the work.

The Florida Department of Transportation claims king tides, Hurricane Dorian and modifications made by the city are the cause of some of the delays.

Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy says the city was ready to offer the contractor money to speed things up, but since it’s not a city project, Hollywood had no legal authority to do so.

“The project timeline was projected to end in the spring of 2018 and here we are in the fall of 2019,” Levy said. “Clearly the contractor has missed multiple deadlines."

Levy said the city’s hands are tied because it’s a state project.

The road construction started on the Hollywood Beach construction project in October 2017, and it may finally end in February 2020.

“Most of it has been, I think, insufficient manpower on the job for the duration of the project,” Levy said.

No one from Community Asphalt in Medley would talk to Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier about the ongoing project and delays.

According to the Florida Department of Transportation, work on the medians is only halfway done and the remainder of scheduled paving will be done after the New Year because of the holidays.

“They need to concentrate on this project, (making) the beach accessible," Netting said. “The beach is what kept this city alive for years.”

Some business owners are calling for more urgency from officials and builders of one of Hollywood's most important economic generators, the beach.

Below are answers sent to Weinsier from Guillermo Canedo, regional communications manager for the FDOT.

Jeff Weinsier: What’s left to do? How much longer until it’s complete?

Guillermo Canedo: The contractor will begin the final layer of asphalt, from Monroe Street to Hollywood Blvd, on November 20. Paving in this area is scheduled to be completed before Thanksgiving.

The remainder of the paving operations will be completed after New Year’s, in observance of the Holidays.

The overall project is expected to be completed in February 2020.

JW: Why it’s taken so long?

GC: The original project was a three R (RRR) project which means Resurfacing, Restoration and Rehabilitation. This RRR project only entailed milling and resurfacing of SR-A1A. At the request of the stakeholders, the scope of the project grew to include wider sidewalks, concrete pavers, upgrades to the shared drainage system and outfalls, reconstruction of side streets, median and sidewalk landscape planters including irrigation sleeves. In addition to the project changes, the contractor has had to work through the extreme King Tides, which has resulted in the delayed progress of the drainage system completion.

Also a specific explanation for the delays.

There have been several factors that have delayed the project other than the normal holidays and weather days allowed by contract.

1. Tidal Flooding from the King Tides has increased the weather days granted; the contractor was not able to work on the critical path items to advance the project.

2. All FDOT construction projects statewide were shut down for seven days to prepare for Hurricane Dorian.

3. Due to the constrained urban nature of the corridor, the Traffic Control Plans(TCP) was changed after the project was let to better accommodate the residents and businesses along A1A.

4. Concrete pavers for the sidewalks were changed at the request of the stakeholders, which added time for the manufacturing and delivery of the new material.

5. Side streets had to be reconstructed to tie into the work the City had performed prior to letting.

6. There were modifications required to the existing drainage system which serves A1A, side streets and private properties that were unanticipated due to the age of the system (construction in the 1960s).

7. Due to constrained right of way, grades had to be adjusted in the field to tie in the back of sidewalk to properties, while still meeting Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and providing necessary driveway connections and pedestrian access.

About the Author:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.