Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis on Tuesday called for accountability from Skanska, the Swedish construction company whose barges went adrift and damaged state property during Hurricane Sally .
In a letter to Skanska CEO Anders Danielsson, the CFO said he has directed the Division of Risk Management to assess damage and take action against the company as needed.
“As Florida’s CFO and the insurer of state property, I am committed to holding companies like Skanska liable for negligent action that damages state property,” Patronis wrote.
Hurricane Sally struck the Florida Panhandle on Sept. 16 and afflicted the region with flooding and storm surge. The storm also caused more than 20 Skanska barges to go adrift.
While more than half washed ashore onto public property, the Pensacola Bay Bridge was struck by several Skanska barges and is now closed while the Department of Transportation repairs extensive damage.
Patronis also asked the company to share what preventative measures are now in place to protect state interests from Skanska equipment in the future.
“The last thing the hard-working men and women of Pensacola need is massive barges causing additional property damage after your company failed to secure them,” he added.
The Pensacola News Journal (PNJ) on Monday reported that Skanska began this week retrieving the lost barges. The company did not, however, provide a timeline for completion.
The PNJ also reported that five full bridge spans, two partial bridge spans, several beams and other parts of the bridge will need to be replaced, according to FDOT.
The Pensacola Bay Bridge, also known as the Three Mile Bridge, connects Pensacola to the city of Gulf Breeze.
The bridge is valued at $400 million and FDOT estimates the bridge will be closed months for repairs.
In all, initial damage assessments to public and private property from Hurricane Sally reach roughly $309 million in Escambia County.
A copy of the letter is available below.
September 30, 2020 at 12:10 am
This certainly creates good press for Mr. Patronis and Skanska AB should be held liable if they were negligent. However, the much larger negligent action that damages state and private property is the utter failure of this Governor and cabinet, including Mr. Patronis, to address climate change in any meaningful way. They have continued to approve new fossil fuel burning power plants, refused to adopt California emission standards for cars, or taken no steps to reduce the state’s carbon footprint. More destructive and frequent hurricanes are the result. So while the damage done by the barges is Skanska’s fault, the damage done by the hurricane is Mr. Patronis’s fault.
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