By Wes Wolfe
Two contracts approved this week open up more than $8.8 million dollars to go to contractors for safety improvements on County Road 108 in Nassau County.
The first $4.6 million addresses the area from Middle Road to U.S. 17, while the next $4.2 million goes to the area of County Road 108 between Middle Road and Bay Road.
Preferred Materials received the first contract and Hubbard Construction Company received the second. County staff note both as the lowest responsive bidders for those jobs.
“County Road 108, from just southwest of the town of Hilliard, roughly Bay Road to U.S. 17, is as you know a heavily traveled road, especially by heavy vehicles,” Deputy County Manager and County Engineer Robert Companionsaid.
“It does experience heavy rutting. This project’s been a long time in the works. It is mostly funded by federal dollars from a LAP grant, a Local Agency Program grant, through the Federal Highway Administration.”
The Florida Department of Transportation is reimbursing the county for nearly $3.1 million costs on the $4.2 million contract, and nearly $3.2 million for the $4.6 million contract.
The work is to include resurfacing, super elevation slope correction, signing and striping.
“It took us four times to bid out one of the phases and three times to bid the other, so this is a long time coming,” Companion said.
“We’ve been trying our best on the staff side and your side to get this thing out, to start, and now we can finally say that we’re looking forward to starting here very soon. In the next two or three weeks, is the hope.”
Road crews in the meantime have been at work shaving down shoulders and whatever else they can do to reduce the risk of standing water on the road.
Local residents have been diligent in bringing the matter to Commissioners. “This is a call once a week,” Commissioner Alyson McCullough said. “More than that, to my telephone.”
She said when it’s raining, she’ll take State Road 200 home because County Road 108 isn’t safe in those conditions.
“To finally have this chapter closing, I just want to thank you, all of your work to get us to that line,” McCullough said to Companion.
The agenda items originally sat within the Commissioners’ consent agenda, but Commissioner John Martin didn’t like the look of the Board authorizing millions of dollars in spending without having a public discussion about it.
“When there are big-ticket items, like (Agenda Items) J and K, I want to get it on the record, what’s going on,” Martin said. “I don’t want the headline to be the Board of County Commissioners just willy-nilly approved the consent agenda with no discussion of things that are millions of dollars.”