By Brian Yogodzinski
Some planned activities for the Alafaya Trail widening project have not occurred which indicates the project most likely continues to fall behind schedule. This is very concerning for the residents in the area as the project dragging on has had a major impact to the daily lives of the community. It is unclear why these delays are occurring but what is clear is that residents would appreciate project completion in a timely manner.
The first indicator that the project schedule continues to slip is based on comments during the Town Hall Meeting at Stoneybrook on May 7th. Discussions were taking place concerning initial delays of the project. The County attributed those delays to utility issues. One gentleman in the audience noted that while those delays were occurring, there was at most one crew working to resolve the utility issues. He also pointed out that the County has other projects in the area in progress that have multiple utility crews working those projects. The County’s response was that once the lane shift occurred on May 18th, they would have multiple utility crews working the project. The road work would be able to follow the utility crews as the utility crews progressed from one end of the project to the other. The County also noted that all utility work would be completed within 4 months. It has been 1 full month since the lane shift on May 18th and what the County promised has not materialized. Only in the past few days has any significant activity transpired. The implication is clear that this project does not have as high of a priority as other projects.
The second indicator that the project schedule continues to slip is based on comments about the inability to restore the left hand turn lanes for the northbound and southbound traffic at the intersection of Avalon Park Boulevard and Alafaya Trail. The County noted that they would not be reinstalling the turn lanes because the sheet pile driver would be working at this intersection within 3 weeks and the equipment would need to use the median to complete sheet pile driving work. That scheduled date has come and gone. At the end of the third week the sheet pile driver remained in the area of the golf course and there is ample material placed in other locations of the project to keep the sheet pile driver busy for many more weeks. On May 18th, the sheet pile driver disappeared from the project. There are no signs that the sheet pile driver will be working at the intersection of Avalon Park Boulevard and Alafaya Trail for some time to come, if at all.
The possibility that the project is on schedule does still exist but is unlikely based on past project performance. What is concerning is that the information that is being provided for planned activities does not match the activities occurring on the project. As such there is much doubt that the project will be completed at the time the County noted. What is needed is transparency and visibility. The County should post a detailed schedule on one of the County’s websites that provides the community enough information to be able to monitor the project’s activities against a completion timeline. The plan should have sufficient detail to illustrate the specific activities being performed, the duration of these activities, and the resources for supporting the activities.
Brian Yogodzinski is a Mechanical Engineer from North Carolina State University with 25 years of experience, primarily in the power generation business. During that time he became a specialist in the area of Transportation Engineering for the movement of over-dimensional and over-weight components such as power plant generators, combustion turbines, and steam turbines, with typical components ranging from 110,000 pounds to 1,000,000 pounds. He has extensive experience working with state and local authorities to ensure regulation compliances and safe transit of these commodities in the public domain. He currently works for a firm that builds equipment for and constructs power plants.