International Drive may not be finished by March completion date

During Tuesday’s Horry County Council meeting, Assistant County Administrator Steve Gosnell said the completion of International Drive could be delayed.

According to the county’s $15.5 million agreement with contractor Southern Asphalt, the deadline for completing the road is March 27, 2018 with liquidated damages of $2,000 per suitable work day that the job isn’t done.

But During a RIDE II update, Gosnell said that the contractor had asked for additional work days to complete the project, although he didn’t know the exact number.

“I haven’t seen it yet,” he said. “I just know they were meeting with my staff yesterday.”

The contract to complete the work is based on suitable work days. Non-suitable workdays include days when work wasn’t done due to weather-related delays or other events beyond the contractor’s control.

If it’s determined that the extra days are needed to make up for non-suitable work days, the $2,000 penalty would not be assessed.

“It’s a pretty standard process,” Gosnell said. “The contract includes provisions for days you can’t work. That’s what he’s basically submitting. We’ll review what he’s submitted and make a determination whether we agree with it or not.”

The Budget

A presentation on RIDE II, a voter-approved sales tax that paid for road projects including International Drive, showed that the budget for the road in question had increased from $6.5 million to $25.5 million.

The original cost estimate was formed in the early 2000s and the increase came from inflation in construction costs, bear tunnels, an increase from two to four lanes and delays in starting the work, Gosnell said.

Despite that, the RIDE II budget still has excess funds, some of which were used for a $12.9 million deal to buy land that will provide mitigation for wetlands disturbed during RIDE III projects.

That’s because some projects came in under budget and the county collected more taxes than originally expected, said Council Chair Mark Lazarus.

“The reality of it is, our collections were higher than were projected,” Lazarus said. “There will still be revenues left over when it’s all said and done that this council will debate on using for future road projects.”

Christian Boschult: 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian