Enterprises (QE), the general contractor, could not have seen this coming when they won the contract to install Goodland’s new water delivery system last winter. 2017 has been the wettest and hottest year on record in South Florida. Torrential rains and 90-plus degree days were accompanied by the invasion of hordes of ravenous salt marsh mosquitoes, which were breeding undisturbed in the surrounding wetlands. Some called it biblical. On top of all this, the summer spring tides, in combination with the high water table, lapped onto the road and filled the ditches and entry holes as fast as they were dug. Workmen had to slosh around in the stuff as they worked. “I have never seen anything like this,” said Fred Sexton, the onsite inspector. Sexton, a tough ex-marine, has been in construction most of his life, including a tour in Vietnam and a year in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, as a construction contractor. He has been sent all over the world to partic ipate in construction projects. He has seen it all – and now this.Construction began on May 30, and despite numerous rain delays, is on schedule to be completed in November. From San Marco Road to Angler Drive, about a half mile, no ditches were necessary. Eight hundred foot sections of the 10-inch pipe were pulled through a series of four-foot deep underground tunnels, pre-bored and running parallel to the old water line. Except for heavy machinery, for boring the tunnels, pulling the pipe through, and pumping the water out of entry trenches, the shoulder remained undisturbed on this stretch. Throughout this phase, which was completed by mid-July, there was relatively little inconvenience to Goodland traffic. One lane of traffic was only necessary in sections where the heavy machinery was operating. The final stretch of the line, from Angler Drive to Harbor Place (Stan’s) was begun in early July. It would consist of an open ditch into which the pipe was laid and turned out to be trickier and more problematic. An open ditch had to be dug for this last 1,000 feet of road. Because of the high water table (from a few inches to onefoot below the surface) the ditch began filling up as fast as it was dug. High tides increased this inpouring. There was nothing for it but to pump it out. First, one pump was tried, but another had to be added, despite the fact that by Sexton’s estimate, each was pumping “millions of gallons” a day. With all this heavy equipment, plus the backhoes and front-end loaders, lane closures became more frequent but patently necessary. It was handled well by the four flagmen who were always on duty. At this writing, the battle with the seawater continues. Sometimes, it is a close run thing. Sexton has been forced to work around tide schedules. This week, they are starting at 5 AM to avoid afternoon high tides, and other days, they start later to avoid earlier highs. His crew sometimes works weekends. Notwithstanding, he expects to be finished with the open trench around August 17. I asked him why it would take until November to finish the job. Sexton broke out his engineering charts and obliged. “There’s an awful lot of work to be done after this,” he said, “After we get all [800 foot] sections of pipe connected (none have been so yet ) we’ve still to make major connections and conduct a battery of tests to make sure that we are in compliance with all regu- lations.” The major connections begin with a link up to Marco Island’s water line on other side of San Marco Road and end at Stan’s where the new pipe will be connected to the line which serves the rest of Goodland. To date there has been only one brief disruption of water service. Otherwise, life goes on here much as it always has. Barry was a practicing attorney before he worked as a Special Agent of the FBI for 31 years. Barry worked for several government agencies another ten years before retiring to Goodland in 2006. Barry is presently the Secretary of the Goodland Civic Association.