Osceola Expressway Authority wins lawsuit, continues with Poinciana Parkway
By Tiffanie Reynolds
The Osceola Expressway Authority can move forward with plans to develop Poinciana Parkway after the federal court denied Lane Construction’s lawsuit against the agency.
The ruling, through the Orlando branch of the Middle District Court, came down Tuesday just hours after Osceola County Expressway Authority’s meeting. The ruling denies Lane Construction’s injunction, or request to stop the contract process with Jr. Davis Construction, the winning bidder for Poinciana Parkway. However, the federal judge in the case still has to rule if the Osceola Expressway Authority board would have to reimburse Lane Construction for their bid.
“We did lose some time, obviously, in this process. Certain documents could not be prepared and certain processes could not move forward until we had an official ruling. So, we’re just going to plow full speed ahead, and hopefully we’ll make up that time and be on our schedule,” Authority Chairman Atlee Mercer said.
The board now will sign the agreement and contract with Jr. Davis Construction, LLC, and will continue with the financing process for Poinciana Parkway. Once the funds are collected, the board will issue Jr. Davis to proceed with construction.
Lane Construction placed second out of three building firms on the project. In its complaint, Lane Construction claimed unfair adjustment of technical scores by the selection committee on the project and questions the qualifications of Jr. Davis as a building firm. Lane Construction already addressed these concerns in front of the board during a previous meeting in August, with the board ruling that their concerns on bidder qualifications and technical adjustments came too late.
As a project, Poinciana Parkway is moving along on schedule. The revised traffic study and risk analysis also were presented during Tuesday’s meeting, and did not present any major changes to the Parkway’s cost. With the exception of a 16-inch water main line to be installed on the parkway bridge, by request of Toho Water Authority, Mercer expects construction to still begin by February 2014.
“It’s going to be like a jigsaw puzzle. There are lots of parts to build this project, and, if this is slowed down, we’ll build another part. We’ll just keep it going, and the end of two to two and a half years from the time we’ll start construction, it’ll be done,” Mercer said.
Along with continuing to work on finance on the project, the authority also is working with county staff on any permits that need to be made before construction starts.