The town of Longboat Key finally received a bid for its summer beach renourishment project, but staff isn’t too happy with it.
A bid meeting Thursday, May 16, at Town Hall, produced just one bid that came in much higher than the town expected.
The price tag: $13,290,525.50.
That’s approximately $3.7 million higher than the town expected taxpayers to pay for the project.
Public Works Director Juan Florensa said engineers had previously given the town an estimate of probable cost for the project of $9.6 million.
The town expected mobilization costs (for bringing the dredge and equipment to the area) of $2.5 million, which, instead, came back at $5.5 million. That cost is factored into the $13.3 million price tag.
Florensa said there’s a variety of factors that could come into play for the higher-than-expected bid.
“The price of fuel and the demand for a dredge at a time when the Northeast is rebuilding its shoreline both are factors,” Florensa said.
However, there’s another reason the cost could be higher.
The bid for the project calls for the town to remove sand from a narrow sand borrow site miles out in the Gulf, where Port Dolphin LLC will place a natural-gas pipeline in the next couple of years.
The town seeks to take approximately 300,000 cubic yards of sand for the beach project in that particular location for a cost-effective reason: The town could be eligible for a $5 million reimbursement from Port Dolphin LLC, if the company proceeds with its pipeline project as anticipated.
Although Town Manager Dave Bullock told the Longboat Observer last week he and staff are still reviewing the bid and the beach-project cost before making a recommendation to the Longboat Key Town Commission, he already told commissioners last month that it may be time to look for sand elsewhere and give up on the possibility of a $5 million beach project reimbursement.
“There’s a certain risk needle that dredgers aren’t willing to take for this borrow site,” Bullock said. “We moved that risk needle and got a bid that’s not exactly what we expected.”
Florensa explained the borrow site is so narrow that is difficult for companies to use large dredges to perform the work.
“We’re still evaluating what to do next, but we do have other sand-borrow sites to utilize,” Florensa said. Those sites, though, don’t come along with a reimbursement.
The beach project, expected to commence this summer, will place sand at the Broadway beach access to Gulfside Road, and from the Islander Club condominiums to the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort. The town is also seeking permits to place an additional 55,000 cubic yards of sand in two other places on the Key.
Although the permit also allows for sand placement at the severely eroded North Shore Road beach access north to Beer Can Island, Florensa said the town would hold off on placing sand there until structures are permitted and built to hold sand.
The following beachside addresses will be receiving sand this summer:
• From 6701 Gulf of Mexico Drive to 6401 Gulf of Mexico Drive
• From 2295 Gulf of Mexico Drive to 1701 Gulf of Mexico Drive
The following beachside addresses may receive sand this summer if the town gets federal permits:
• 4401 Gulf of Mexico Drive to 3855 Gulf of Mexico Drive
• 3800 Gulf of Mexico Drive to 3155 Gulf of Mexico Drive