Southwest Florida transportation officials say it appears the widening of U-S 41 in Bonita Springs is set to finish later this month...almost nine months behind schedule. The 18-million dollar project started in 2003. The mission: add an extra lane for three miles on a busy and congested road in South Lee County. Since then the contractor, Astaldi, has missed many interim deadlines to get the work completed on-time much to the chagrin of residents and businesses who have lost time and money since the 41 widening project began. Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Debbie Tower says the contractor believes the widening will really be completed by the end of the month.
“Florida DOT is not pleased with Astaldi’s overall performance on the project. In recent months, Astaldi has dedicated the resources and has made good progress on the project. However, the agreement was to see this job finished in April. That did not happen and we are disappointed with the schedule moving and slipping.”
The D-O-T fines Astaldi 61-hundred dollars every day. By the time the Italian-based company is finished, it will have to pay 800-thousand dollars in fines.
The massively-delayed widening of U-S 41 in South Lee County is supposed to be finished by the end of the month. After almost a year of delays, state transportation officials are optimistic the project will be completed soon. Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Debbie Tower says the finish line is in sight. After three years of work to add an extra lane on a three-mile stretch of U-S 41 through Bonita Springs, the project’s end can’t come soon enough for business owners and residents. Tower says the project was supposed to be finished last January. Then it was April, then the summer and now by the end of September, hopefully.
“We certainly understand the community’s frustration with this project. In fact, we share it. We understand the community would like to see six-lanes open to traffic and would have liked to have seen that in January. Certainly April, the project should have been finished. We understand the frustration.”
The Italian contractor, Astaldi, has blamed rainy weather, cement shortages and unexpected environmental obstacles. The company now has to pay 61-hundred dollars every day to the state as a penalty. By the time the project finishes, Astaldi will have to fork over more than 800-thousand dollars in fines.
Monday, 11 September 2006 01:00
Widening US 41Written by WGCU Newsroom