CR 486 project may get pricier

Published February 10, 2007

HERNANDO - The cost of widening County Road 486 between Forest Ridge Boulevard and U.S. 41 could increase more than $3.2-million, county officials say.

And the project, originally slated for completion in December 2006, may not be done until Sept. 28 of this year.

But if county commissioners approve proposed changes to the $21-million project on Tuesday, director of Public Works Glenn McCracken said, they will be getting more bang for the county's buck.

"In reality, we save money," he said.

The $3.2-million price tag increase includes funding for contractor D.A.B. Constructors to build:

- Improvements to the intersection of Croft Road and CR 486, such as widening Croft between the intersection and Hernando Elementary School to allow for easier school bus access.

- A new right-turn lane into the Canterbury Lakes subdivision.

- Easier access to businesses on the road.

By adding those improvements to an existing project, McCracken said, the county does not have to pay the additional costs of potentially higher bids.

"He's on the site. He's doing the work. His price is fair and reasonable," McCracken said, referring to D.A.B. Constructors.

The changes would bring the total budget for the project to more than $24-million.

"We realize there are additional things we can do with the project now that will make the project better," county spokeswoman Jessica Lambert said.

"It's better to be proactive rather than to be reactive after the project's complete."

If commissioners approve the proposal, it will be the second significant increase in the CR 486 project's budget since construction began in March 2004.

In July 2005 the commission approved a $1.4-million change order to fund redesigning drainage for portions of the road.

County officials have said the CR 486 project will be a model for future road projects in the county. Its new features include an expansion to four lanes, a landscaped median and a pedestrian pathway on the south side.

In late 2006 crews tore up portions of the road that had been paved for months after a consultant found the limerock base did not meet county standards.

D.A.B. Constructors paid for those repairs.

And Lambert said Friday that the proposed changes to the project's budget have nothing to do with any earlier construction problems with the road.

The County Commission will meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Citrus County Courthouse, 110 N Apopka Ave., Inverness.

Commissioners will also consider a $317,402 increase in the amount paid to Professional Engineering Consultants Inc. to design the new portions of the project.

Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichet@sptimes.com or 860-7309.