The long-awaited demolition of the parking deck behind the old county courthouse and the reconstruction of Coastline Drive and Liberty Street could cost $1 million more and take months longer to finish than originally anticipated.
When completed in 2019, the large area behind the courthouse off Bay Street will become open water, creating a feature like an inlet off the St. Johns River with a bench-lined riverwalk wrapping around the expanse of water, according to our Florida Times-Union.
The construction also will rebuild a portion of Coastline Drive where it runs in front of the Hyatt Regency hotel and reconstruct part of Liberty Street that goes alongside the parking garage for the Berkman Plaza.
All the construction is taking place over water because Coastline Drive, the parking deck and Liberty Street were built on piers like bridges, making the work more complicated than it would be if it were on land.
Liberty Street became a symbol of aging infrastructure when a piece of it collapsed into the river in 2012 and then another chunk fell down in 2015. Today, mesh signs on the fence barricading the construction area proclaim: “Coming Soon! a new and exciting way to experience your St. Johns River!”
The city awarded a $24.7 million design-build contract in June 2016 to Superior Construction and work began in early 2017.
A city procurement committee is scheduled to vote Thursday on a change order adding $1 million to the cost of the contract with Superior. The agenda for the meeting does not have an explanation for the additional cost.
The work also will take longer to complete. When construction began, the city expected to wrap up in summer 2018 with the area reopened so people could stroll the reconfigured riverwalk. The revised schedule pegs spring 2019 for when the area will be open for those waterfront walks.