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Longboat sued over alleged bridge damage

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

The Town of Longboat Key was served a lawsuit on May 3 for damages to the Longboat Pass Bridge that the plaintiff says were caused when a contractor was boring a hole for a water pipe near the bridge.

The plaintiff, Infrastructure Corporation of America, is contracted by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to maintain and repair the Longboat Pass Bridge.

The lawsuit, which seeks damages in excess of $15,000, says the town’s contractors, Landmark Construction, CDM Smith, and Spectrum Underground are at fault for rendering the bridge inoperable and unsafe due to damages when it undertook boring a pipe through “unstable soil in close proximity to the bridge.”

According to the complaint, on or about Oct. 24, 2014, the Town of Longboat Key contracted with Spectrum to construct and install the potable water pipe.

Spectrum subcontracted with TB Landmark to directionally bore the subaqueous water line across Longboat Pass. CDM Smith was the project engineer responsible for the design and supervision of the project.

On Oct. 24, 2014, the FDOT notified the plaintiff of an increased gap width on a critical part of the bridge. According to the lawsuit, Longboat Key’s contractor, while boring the hole for the pipe, caused the subsurface soils to destabilize which resulted in the bridge moving. The lawsuit says that upon discovering the damage, TB Landmark was asked to cease operation and the movement of the bridge stabilized.

The suit says that it is entitled to recover from the defendants the cost to repair and restore the bridge to safe working order, as well as the cost of the legal action. The suit says that, “Longboat Key had a duty, including a non-delegable duty in pursuing an inherently dangerous activity to use reasonable care with regard to the location of subaqueous boring construction of the water main line. Longboat Key failed to use such reasonable care, which caused damage.”

The suit says that the town is directly liable for all the damages and its contractors are “also directly and vicariously liable.”

The suit makes a demand of the 12th Circuit Court for Manatee County for a jury trial.

Town Manager Dave Bullock said that there will be a discovery period where evidence will have to be produced along with all of the associated records substantiating the allegations. Bullock added that the town’s insurance company is paying for its defense and made it clear that the town relied on its consultants and that the project was permitted by state agencies. The next step is the town will respond to the suit.

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