Repairing Sanibel Causeway after Hurricane Ian

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Repairing Sanibel Causeway after Hurricane Ian

Surety Bond Professionals is a family owned and operated bonding agency with over 30 years of experience. With access to a broad range of surety markets, our expert agents are ready to assist with all of your construction bond needs.

In the Aftermath of Hurricane Ian

After Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc in parts of Florida, drones captured images of the 3-mile-long Sanibel Causeway that revealed some sections to be heavily damaged. Other sections were completely submerged or washed away by the storm surge. Damage from the storm completely cut off Sanibel Island from mainland Florida and knocked out all power.

An emergency response network of contractors was mobilized immediately, and internet and cell phone communication was restored through a Starlink satellite. But all the initial phases of repair work had to be accomplished with power from generators.

The immediate repairs included using dredged material, rip rap, and other materials trucked in from various parts of Florida to rebuild the causeway islands and fill in the areas that Ian had washed out. A paving crew contracted by the Florida Department of Transportation repaired nearby roads. With resources that included not only drones but also underwater survey equipment and barges, the Sanibel Causeway repairs were completed in only 15 days, though work was ongoing around the clock during that time.

The Florida DOT reports that the emergency (Phase I) repairs required the following resources:

  • 70 pieces of heavy equipment
  • 8,200 loads of fill dirt
  • 2,400 loads of rocks
  • 4,000 tons of asphalt
  • Four barges, five boats and two dredges
  • Seven cranes
  • Dive teams with underwater survey equipment
  • More than 100 crews
  • More than 36,000 total workforce hours

According to project management, the keys to success were:

  • Clear communications throughout the process, including frequent meetings among members of the emergency response network.
  • Painstaking attention and commitment of resources to what needed to be done to complete the job quickly and safely.
  • The leadership of key DOT people onsite and an “all hands on deck” mindset.

Permanent repairs (Phase II of the Sanibel Causeway project) will focus on upgrades to increase the causeway’s resilience, such as strengthening or adding seawalls and elevating low-lying parts of the causeway.

Contractors that want to be eligible for such emergency construction contracts will need to be able to obtain the construction bonds required by law for government-funded projects on short notice.

Bonding Requirements

Contractors bidding on large public works projects must purchase a bid bond as well as a performance bond and payment bonds. Additional bonds also may be required.

Bid Bond

In providing the project owner with a bid bond, a contractor is guaranteeing to accept the job if awarded the contract. This helps prevent contractors from submitting frivolous bids on multiple jobs with the intent of accepting only the most lucrative. More importantly, it provides a way for the project owner to recover monetary damages incurred by having to conduct another round of bidding and having to evaluate another batch of proposals, which can be an expensive undertaking.

Performance Bond

A performance bond provides financial protection for the project owner if the chosen contractor does not complete the job for any reason. The project owner can file a claim against the bond to cover any out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the contractor’s default.

Payment Bond

On government-funded jobs, a payment bond is often bundled with a performance bond to guarantee the contractor’s payment of subcontractors, workers, and suppliers according to the terms of the construction contract.

How Construction Bonds Work

There are three parties to every construction bond:

  • The project owner (known as the “obligee”).
  • The contractor (the “principal”), and
  • The bond’s guarantor (the “surety”).

As the principal, you are legally obligated to pay all valid claims against the bond. The surety guarantees the bond by agreeing to extend credit to the principal for that purpose. The principal must then repay the debt to the surety, who is indemnified by the terms of the surety bond agreement. If not repaid, the surety can take legal action against the principal to recover the funds.

Cost of a Construction Bond

The annual premium rate for a construction bond is set by the surety after an underwriting risk assessment. The more qualified and creditworthy the principal is, the less risk to the surety and the lower the premium rate. A principal with excellent credit may pay a premium rate of 1% or even less.

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