Beach access projects delayed

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TONY JUDNICH @Tonyjnwfdn

SHALIMAR — Unanticipated delays have led to changes in the completion dates of two of the three Okaloosa County beach access projects.

Last September the County Commission approved paying the Floridian Construction and Development Co. of Destin a little more than $1.7 million in bed tax money to improve accesses No. 4, 5 and 6 on Okaloosa Island.

The projects include building elevated boardwalks and pavilions, replacing portable toilets with elevated, more-permanent types of bathrooms and paving the gravel parking lots.

However, the contractor has faced delays in permitting and in lumber procurement, as well as in Gulf Power providing its services to the sites because of a change in electrical requirements, according to county Public Works Director Jason Autrey.

Those issues prompted the County Commission on Tuesday to approve a change order for two of the projects.

Completion of the No. 5 access project is now set for April 20 instead of March 1, and completion of the No. 4 access is now set for May 7 rather than April 16.

“There is no dollar value change associated with this” change order, Autrey told commissioners at their meeting in Shalimar.

May 25 remains the completion date for the No. 6 beach access project.

Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel, whose district includes Okaloosa Island, said the pavilions, handicap ramps and permanent restrooms that will be available “will make a huge difference” for visitors.

The new amenities, including the elevated structures that will meet new flood-zone requirements, will match those already in place at beach accesses No. 1, 2, 3 and 7.

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