As Siesta Isles Association President Tony Romanus walks along Contento Drive, where trucks and trailers traverse a small bridge to prepare homes for sale or new owners, he points out a problem he’s had little time to monitor.
The approach to the humpback bridge that connects the small island where his home sits to mainland Siesta Key is sinking.
The Florida Department of Transportation is wrapping up the Siesta Key north bridge rehabilitation project, but more island bridgework is in the works.
Road and bridge engineers refer to the problem as “settling,” and Sarasota County recently finalized plans to rehabilitate eight such bridges beginning next year. The next step is finding a contractor to undertake the project.
“The design is ready, it just needs to go through procurement,” said Sarasota County project manager Teresa Goluch, who is assigned to the plan.
County purchasing staff and engineers estimate the renovations will cost about $637,500, and staff will begin preparing a package to solicit bids from contractors Nov. 26, according to the latest county-procurement report.
It has been at least six years since the county worked on the bridges, some of which bear inch-wide cracks and signs that show approaches have sunk as much as 3 inches.
The contractor chosen for the project will have to submit the project plans to the U.S. Coast Guard 60 days before construction begins and is not permitted to close waterways without its approval, according to engineering plans drawn up by Cardno TBE in June. The Florida Department of Transportation requires the firm to keep at last one lane of traffic open during the bridgework.