Completion of the Pier Avenue Improvement Project has been delayed by at least two and a half weeks, though the final date remains unclear. The official date is Aug. 2, Richard Morgan, city public works director, said at Tuesday's City Council meeting.
Yet the city's timeline is about one month ahead of the Sept. 2 completion date the contractors provided—a discrepancy Morgan acknowledged Tuesday. The original end date for the project was July 15.
Morgan said rain and utilities problems caused delays that led to the later completion date.
"The goal of being fully done by summer is not going to happen," Morgan said.
The construction has negatively affected many of the street's businesses because of the confusion caused by the presence of large machinery as well as a shortage of parking that is even worse than usual. Some business owners voiced their concerns Tuesday night.
Rick Hankus, owner of Java Man on Pier Avenue, said that although he supported the project, it has been a hassle.
"You can't even drive down Pier Avenue," he said. "It's like a war zone ... my business is way down. I'm sure everyone else who is on Pier Avenue is down as well. How can they not be when there is no parking?"
Morgan said by July 19 the curb work will be finished and the sparse parking problem resolved.
"(The street) will function like everyone has been used to," he said.
Paving work began today and additional crews also started electrical, curb, gutter, irrigation and catch basin projects.
"We're going to start seeing the kind of activity that shows a product that everyone is anxious to see," Morgan said.
Morgan noted that the project contract allows the city to receive "liquidated damages"—$2,500 for every day the project goes beyond its official completion date.
"That's a big number for projects," Morgan said. "But it's justified on this project because we're impacting businesses."
Morgan said the contractor, Pima Corp., is willing to work Saturdays and nights to finish the job.
The Pier Avenue Improvement Plan will widen sidewalks and add new landscaping, street lighting and street furnishings. The City Council awarded the contract to Los Angeles-based Pima in December.