TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
As contractors from Tyndall Air Force Base work tirelessly to complete an infrastructure project between Shell Island and Tyndall, a potential safety concern has arisen that may lead to work delays and a possible work stoppage.
The construction workers, contracted by the 325th Fighter Wing, were given the task of disassembling and reconstructing a pier at Shell Island, slated to be completed before Labor Day.
“If anyone has been out here before, they could see the pier and boardwalk were pretty degraded,” said Capt. Sean Murphy, 325th Civil Engineer Squadron officer. “Most of the boards were weakened and covered in splinters. We’re just trying to make a better product for our Tyndall Airmen and the locals that also frequent this area.”
Adding to the stress of completing the job on time, beachgoers and boaters alike have been questioning the validity of the contractors being on site to finish the project.
“Our contractor has had a very tight schedule, so we actually can get this completed before Labor Day,” said Jillian Kennedy, 325th Contracting Squadron infrastructure team lead. “However, we keep having incidents where boats are trying to dock on the pier while it’s under construction. The contractors have also had their signs stolen and there has even been incidents where 911 has been called. In order to ensure progress, we request that the public stay away from the pier while it’s under construction so we can open on time.”
Construction for the project began July 31. Though it’s still on schedule, continued disruptions could cause further delays in the $80,000 construction process. This would mean a closed pier and dock for the coming Labor Day festivities.
Some of the more notable incidents have resulted in members of the 325th Security Forces Squadron being called to respond.
At the core of the issue, Tyndall and its partners have a firm dedication to the safety of all parties involved.
“When people come out here they want to have a good time and party, so most of the individuals we deal with are under the influence,” said Quentin Pridemore, Commercial Diving International Services contractor. “We try to politely and professionally ask that they vacate the area so that we can safely resume construction, but usually they become aggressive and belligerent. I’ve even had employees struck in the face by a sign by an individual as they left. These events occur daily and is a constant occurrence.”
Since the pier is located on Tyndall, visitors to the island should either have their military ID or a Tyndall outdoor recreation pass. To obtain a pass, visit https://tyndall.isportsman.net/