More repair delays 5 years after Liberty Street collapse

Repairs won’t be done until April 2020

More delays for repairs to a collapsed road that is reshaping Jacksonville’s riverfront.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More delays for repairs to a collapsed road that is reshaping Jacksonville’s riverfront.

It’s been almost five years since a portion of Liberty Street near the old courthouse collapsed into the St. Johns River. A City report says planned repairs won’t be done until April 2020.

On Feb. 1, 2015, the second collapse of Liberty Street occurred.

At that time it knocked out power to residents of Berkman Plaza. Since then, the City has budgeted more than $30 million to redo the site including repairs to Coastline Drive and the Riverwalk which runs in front of the Hyatt hotel.

Instead of fixing that portion of Liberty Street, it has been demolished along with the parking that was adjacent to the Old Duval County courthouse. Also since the collapse, the old courthouse and City Hall have been leveled. All of that has trigged delays and changed development plans.

Donna Capps who lives at Berkman Plaza, the condo’s next to the site, was there when the road collapsed. She has watched the slow progress of repairs and development.

“Anytime you have construction it’s an inconvenience. I’m surprised the old courthouse came down a lot faster than these repairs,” Capps said.

A City report says the repairs next to Berkman Plaza are expected to move a bit quicker now since they have replaced the bulkhead. Pilings are now being put into place to secure the site. The city report says it’s about 35% complete.

“I think it’s fine. I think that’s what’s taking them so long you’re trying to make it as safe as possible, “Capps added.

A portion of Coastline Drive in front of the Hyatt Hotel was scheduled to open this month. The report says that has been delayed.

The City had hoped to revamp Courthouse Drive, the area behind the old courthouse and parking. That’s now on hold. The City report says the Downtown Investment Authority is hoping whatever company is chosen to develop the site will also have ideas for what to do with the road along the riverfront.

The City is allowing the contractor weather and holiday delays. Both sides are still debating the cost of the project. The City has budgeted more than $30 million for the project. but the price has gone up over the years.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.