Tom Staed Veterans Memorial Bridge Should Be Open To Drivers In March

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Daytona Beach, FL - Motorists should be able to drive over the Tom Staed Veterans Memorial Bridge in about three more months. Volusia County Engineer Tadd Kasbeer said he knows that the bridge being out since the summer of 2016 is an inconvenience for many Daytona Beach residents.

If the project is completed by early March, that will mean it's about 15 months behind schedule. Kasbeer said that weather has been a major issue. Since work on the bridge began, both Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 and Hurricane Irma in September 2017 affected the immediate area, causing lengthy shutdowns prior to the storms and for some time afterward. Even Hurricane Dorian, which really didn't affect Volusia County, caused a shut down that lasted more than a week.

Kasbeer says contractor Johnson Brothers Corporation has set the goal of May 2020 as a 100 percent completion date for the $47 million project. The company is already facing financial penalties as the original completion date was set for December 2018. The county agreed to a new completion date of July 2019 in order to give Johnson Brothers a break for delays and problems out of their control. Even with that eight-month break, the contractor could still face as much as $1 million in fines. The county could not waive what amounts to $8,800 per day for liquidated damages, even if they wanted to. The $43 million federal grant received by Volusia County to cover most of the bridge project's costs calls for those daily fines if the substantial completion date is not met.

While drivers should be able to use the Bridge sometime in March, there are still a number of non-essential items to be completed. Kasbeer said one is the fishing pier which is not required to be open and ready for the completion date. There are also decorative panels related to the veteran's theme of the bridge. They will commemorate each of America's conflicts and wars and the men and women who served in them.

Also slated to be completed after the bridge opens to traffic is the Veterans Memorial Plaza. The county is currently collecting donations for what is estimated to be a $1.2 million project. You can find out how to donate on the Volusia County website.

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