Nice thing about Sunshine Laws and Freedom of Information Acts. They give you a chance to find out officially when someone’s been very, very naughty.
Our local news reporters have apparently been pretty motivated to find out exactly what went down that Skanska didn’t have the barges secured at the 3-Mile Bridge. Having to add an extra hour and a half to your commute every day will tend to do that. It’s taken them weeks and several separate FOIA requests pestering Skanska and FDOT, but they finally got hold of not just Skanska’s contract for the 3-Mile Bridge, but the specific 10-page plan Skanska had to submit for how they would deal with hurricanes.
Among other things included in that plan?
A marine overseer was supposed to be there every time a barge was secured.
The barges were supposed to be moved 10 miles from the bridge to a specific sheltered bay if winds were predicted to get past 58 MPH.
And most telling of all, Skanska was supposed to need no more than 30 hours to get the barges secured in that bay. Not “five days”, as the representative tried to claim to all and sundry. Thirty hours.
…We knew Sandy was going to put tropical storm force winds on this spot at least two days in advance.
Is anyone surprised that Skanska apparently didn’t follow their own hurricane plan? The mandatory plan they had to have for FDOT to even consider their bid, years back? The one that would have kept the bridge in one piece? Anyone?
FDOT did not comment to the news on Skanska following the plan, or not. FDOT did send a message to Skanska that they are halting all daily payments on the bridge as of the date it was damaged, and have no plans to pay until the bridge is functional again. That’s $35 K a day Skanska is losing, and we haven’t even gotten to the whole, “And we want you to pay the Garcon Bridge tolls, too.”
How much money would it have cost them to keep their word? To keep to their contract? Did they really think the shortcuts were worth it? Were they negligent, careless – or just ruthlessly playing the odds that in over five years of working on the bridge we wouldn’t have a serious storm?
I don’t know if we’ll ever find out. But maritime law or no, if they didn’t hold to their own contract, I hope the courts give them hell.