The town planned to receive bids for its beach project at a meeting Tuesday, April 16.
It received one “no bid” letter from a dredge company explaining why it did not respond — but not a single bid.
“I threw a party and nobody came,” said Longboat Key Public Works Director Juan Florensa, who told the Longboat Observer just days earlier he expected beach project savings costs in the bids because the town had teamed up with Collier County to save on dredge mobilization costs.
The day before the scheduled meeting, Collier County officials informed Florensa that they couldn’t proceed as scheduled with their beach project due to glitches in its bid. The bid meeting at Town Hall produced no bids the following day.
Florensa said after calling the dredge companies, he learned the companies didn’t bid because they were concerned about bid language that stated sand couldn’t be scraped any deeper than 39 feet from the sand borrow areas that sit miles out in the Gulf.
“When dredge companies can’t exceed a depth of a certain feet, they get nervous because they can incur fines,” Florensa said. “We can work on the language to address their concerns.”
By law, Florensa and the contractors can’t discuss issues they have with a bid proposal during the bid process.
“Unfortunately we have to wait until the bid meeting is over to see what their concerns are,” Florensa said.
The delay, Florensa said, will only push the beach project back 30 days from its original July or August start date.
The beach project, expected to commence this summer, will place sand at the Broadway beach access to Gulfside Road, and from the Islander Club condominium to the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort. The town is also trying to get 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 in the area.
The permit allows the town to finally be able to remove sand from a borrow site miles out in the Gulf where a natural-gas pipeline is being placed in the next couple of years.
The town will take approximately 300,000 cubic yards of sand for the beach project.
The project is estimated to cost the town $9 million, although it’s eligible for a $5 million reimbursement from Port Dolphin LLC if it moves forward with its pipeline project as anticipated.