A learning experience
The Florida Department of Transportation apologizes for the recent delays and inconveniences caused by roadwork on northbound I-275 in the West Shore Boulevard area from April 5-8.
Balancing drivers’ needs with reconstruction efforts is no easy task. It is a responsibility we take very seriously. In order to give drivers the same number of through-lanes during construction as were available before the project began, lane closures are scheduled during overnight periods. Occasionally, the normal allowable hours are not sufficient to perform certain construction activities; this was the issue facing project management leading up to that Saturday night.
The contractor’s plans called for shifting traffic into a temporary alignment for several months to move traffic away from a future construction area, allowing access to proceed with the project while keeping drivers and workers safe. While this was successfully achieved, it took longer than anticipated due to unexpected subsurface conditions.
We learned from this experience and fully intend to apply these “lessons learned” as this project and others move forward.
The contracting team has a proven track record of delivering quality projects on time, and we are confident this will be the case with the current project. However, the contractor will be held accountable.
We will continue to ensure we provide a safe and reliable transportation system for the entire community.
The writer is the District Seven secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation.
Wrong location for heroes
It surprises me that the bodies of Army Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ferguson and Army Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazaney Rodriguez arrived at Tampa International Airport and not MacDill Air Force Base. The reason given was that these two heroes serving our country (even though stationed in the United States) were not killed in a “war zone” overseas. It seems that our country has become just as vulnerable, and apparently Fort Hood, Texas, qualifies.
Our military are performing their duties as assigned, and regardless of the location of their demise should be given the respect they deserve when killed under similar circumstances as unfortunately occurred.
TIA is not the proper venue to receive these men who represented our country with their service so bravely. A proper and formal military reception should have been afforded.
Regarding “Haley turns away state inspectors” last week:
Veterans Affairs is required by federal guidelines to stringently protect a veteran’s records with HIPAA in place. As a former employee of the Veterans Benefits Administration, we were under strict rules not to disclose a veteran’s records unless requested by the veteran or by him or her giving such permission. On a daily basis, unauthorized parties, ranging from a disgruntled spouse or ex-spouse to relatives to purported legal representatives, would attempt to obtain a veteran’s records on medical or compensation without the veteran’s permission. In that the VA does comply with properly administered federal investigations concerning a veteran or veterans’ records, it is incorrect to describe the VA’s mandate to protect this information using such terms as “stonewalling” or “secretive.”
David S. Reed