Citation Boulevard reopens to traffic, but City of Palm Coast plans to fine Cline for delay

The City of Palm Coast fines Cline Construction $ 1,000 per day for each day after September 28, until the Citation Boulevard realignment project between Seminole Woods Boulevard and Sesame Boulevard is deemed “substantially complete” . That’s the standard fine, and it was around $ 42,000 as of Nov. 9, according to city spokeswoman Brittany Kershaw. Cline chairman Scott Sowers, however, said the company is disputing the amount because many factors – including the pandemic – put completion of the project beyond Cline’s control.

“We submitted change requests for rainy days and pandemic issues which were initially denied,” Sowers said in an email to the Palm Coast Observer. “However, we dispute it, because the contract explicitly provides for an additional period due to pandemics. We have been in discussion with the General Manager, and we are still awaiting a response from him. Citation is open to traffic, which was the main concern of the city.

Kershaw reported the following in a press release at the end of July: “During construction, the team encountered an issue with a stormwater management structure and a water pipe that required overhaul. The necessary structure must be built and delivered by the manufacturer. This delay in redesigning and materials interrupted construction of the project. Citation Parkway is now slated to reopen to motorists in August and the project is expected to be fully completed by mid-September.

Citation Boulevard reopened on October 27, but there is still some unfinished business.

As of November 8, the sidewalk is yet to be added and the widening of Seminole Woods Parkway is yet to be completed. Turning lanes should be paved, signs should be installed, and leveling should be done on the gullies. Landscaping must be completed.

“The contractor will be in the area to finish these items while traffic uses the roadway,” Kershaw added.

Some residents of Seminole Woods are increasingly frustrated by the delays, which result in long detours. Some shouted insults at the workers as they drove by. Someone put sand in the gas tank of a paver and also used power tools to destroy other equipment resulting in more delays.

“It’s hard to say, ‘Well, that caused it,'” Sowers said of the delays. “COVID is one of the biggest that screwed things up. Some of our people got it, and then it shut down a whole team. … They drive together in the same truck to go to construction sites, so they have to sit down or be tested.

A fully vaccinated foreman, who has worked at the company for 25 years, died of COVID during Project Citation. “It’s a wake-up call, and it’s not something you’re ready to handle,” said Scott Sowers, adding the foreman was fully vaccinated and had other health issues.

A fully vaccinated foreman, who has worked at the company for 25 years, died of COVID during Project Citation.

“It’s a red flag, and it’s not something you’re ready to handle,” Sowers said, adding the foreman was fully immunized and had other health issues.

In addition to the COVID cases among staff, labor shortages have hampered Cline. Even after giving 10% company-wide increases, Sowers said he still needed more hands.

“We are desperately looking for employees,” he said. “We would hire 10 if we could find them. They just aren’t there.

Supply disruptions, caused by both the pandemic and Hurricane Ida, have also had an impact on the business, from vans to PVC pipes.

“It’s a perfect storm,” Sowers said.

Vandalism of construction equipment has exacerbated further delays, according to Cline chairman Scott Sowers. Photo by Brian McMillan

Kevin A. Perras