I-295, Commonwealth project comes to halt

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are nearly 50 ongoing road construction projects in the Jacksonville area, but one of them is at a standstill.

Intestate 295 and Commonwealth Avenue interchange improvement work started in January 2013 but ran into some trouble a few months ago.

The project has come to a halt because the general contractor went bankrupt.

"We need to get something out here done and get it started and completed because there isn't nobody out here to finish it," driver Mickey Leyva said.

Drivers are frustrated by the project, which was supposed to be finished by now but instead is not even close to being complete.

The original contractor's bonding company is working with the Florida Department of Transportation to get a new contractor pre-qualified for the work, but it isn't sure how long it will take to get the new contractor started on the project.

"What the Florida Department of Transportation is doing right now is looking at the temporary fixes," FDOT spokesman Ron Tittle said. "We got a call for potholes and things that may be out here and safety issues, and we will certainly work on those."

It's a bumpy ride in the area right now, and drivers hope that's fixed during construction.

"There's a lot of timber trucks and a lot of semitrucks going up and down my road, and they are tearing up the road," driver Stephen Hurst said. "It's getting bad, but they are trying to keep up with it."

FDOT doesn't know if it will incur additional costs due to the delay, but some of the costs are being absorbed by the original contractor's bonding company.

The initial contract days were set for about a year, so by the time the contractor defaulted in March, the project was already behind on the completion schedule.

The original contractor, Southern Development Corporation Bonding Company, was going to get paid $3.3 million for the job. At this point, it has already received $2 million.

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