Any construction project has its share of challenges. However, when it comes to road repairs and highway construction, there are a variety of things to consider and address that are unique to road work. In this brief article, a Miami construction attorney with Cotney Construction Law shares five of the most common challenges with road work and how to avoid or correct them.
Challenge 1: Traffic Interruptions and Vehicles Entering Before Finished
With typical closed construction sites, only employees and essential people are allowed in the area. Unfortunately, this is not always the case when it comes to road work. People may need to drive through the area to get to their destination or their homes, and, when the site is not manned, you run the risk of someone coming and damaging or undoing the progress you have made (not to mention trying to steal or vandalize property left onsite for the next day).
Further, because the project may interrupt the flow of traffic, you face stricter deadlines on when the project must be complete — combined with the uphill battle of keeping the area free of cars to finish the job itself. If you find that you are facing major issues with vehicles entering the area before it’s complete, our Miami construction law attorneys can help you address the best approach to get help from the city or county. You may need to have police officers stationed nearby to prevent traffic from entering, or you may need to put up more barricades and signage — no matter the solution, an attorney will help you stay within your rights when doing so.
Challenge 2: Soil Changes and Issues
Roadways are built on soil that is constantly shifting and changing. The soil shrinks and expands with moisture, which is all due to the fluctuations in the water table beneath the ground. Further, unlike when you lay the foundation for a building or structure, heavy objects are constantly pushing against the soil and creating subtle changes that can create major issues over time. Soil that is mixed or wet during construction can also create unstable ground when laying the pavement.
These issues can be costly and, if the ground is not surveyed properly, can result in defects both down the line and as the ground is laid. Thus, it’s crucial to pay close attention to the soil, ground, and other simple things that may be overlooked, such as tree roots that may grow under the road in time.
Challenge 3: Visibility of Workers and Equipment
Often, construction on the roads is completed during off-hours. As such, workers are at greater risk of accidents or injuries due to low visibility. This can be resolved by providing additional lighting, reflective gear such as vests and hats, and additional signage warning passing vehicles that workers are present.
Another challenge is visibility of equipment. Although it may seem hard to miss large construction equipment, such as a roller or backhoe, there is a greater risk that a driver might not see them and hit them if being parked on the side of the road at night during off hours. These risks present very serious liability issues. As such, it’s important to think about ways to increase visibility of equipment as well as workers to minimize potential risk or harm to all parties involved, including drivers.
Challenge 4: Timing Troubles
When you take on most construction projects, you’re likely able to schedule workers during the day. However, with roadwork, timing is crucial. Too much activity during rush hour can put your workers in danger while creating frustrating delays and negative impact on drivers — but too many hours at night results in the need for costly lighting and dangers due to visibility. One of the major challenges of any infrastructure project, but especially highway and road repair, simply boils down to the timing.
If you are struggling to create a schedule that satisfies the workers, the customer (in this case, the U.S. government), and the users of the road, our Miami contractor attorneys can help. They will help you create a bid that addresses all timing issues before the project starts so as to prevent any delays or complications.
Challenge 5: Ground Movement
We addressed challenges with the soil beneath the road, but there is another issue that can lurk below the surface: ground movement. In Florida, this is less of a major issue because we don’t typically have earthquakes, but there still can be major shifting in the ground. This can be caused by a variety of things, including erosion, flooding, and sinkholes, among other causes.
This ground movement should be considered any time you embark on a new highway or road project. Of course, some things are impossible to predict (like sinkholes), but it’s important to take into consideration any possible movement in the ground in order to complete the road well and on time. Our Miami construction lawyers are familiar with the various issues you may run into with ground movement and can help you address these issues before they become major problems.
Cotney Construction Law’s experienced Miami contractor lawyers can provide sound legal advice to construction professionals at every level and for any infrastructure project you need assistance with. Not only do we advise our clients on legal matters, but we also provide representation in court, mediations, and arbitrations when necessary. We also advocate for clients involved in licensing complaints, OSHA citations, labor and safety violations, permitting issues, and stop-work orders.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.