The Beach Road Drainage Improvements project, now projected to be complete in April, will overlap construction work with the Siesta Beach Improvements by more than three months — a development that may ultimately save the county money, officials said.
The $4.5 million Beach Road Drainage Improvements project is designed to collect rainwater runoff from the Siesta Beach parking lot in a retention pond, and then pass the runoff through ultraviolet-light filtration units before being pumped through a 2,000-foot underground pipe into the Gulf of Mexico. The project’s intent is to protect Gulf water from contaminated runoff; it is not expected, however, to alleviate flooding on Beach Road.
The $21.5 million Siesta Beach Improvements, a separate project from the drainage improvements, will include expanded beach parking lots and a renovated concession stand.
The drainage improvements project was originally projected to be complete by December, but heavy rainfall in September stalled the project, ultimately leaving project managers scrambling to find a way to dewater the flooded construction site and get the project back on track.
Sarasota County Manager Alex Boudreau said construction at the Beach Road Drainage Improvements is now scheduled for completion by March 8; with cleanup at the site set to be done by April 8.
The Siesta Beach Improvements, which technically began Nov. 18, will break ground at the end of January, Sarasota County Public Works Project Manager Brad Gaubatz said.
The revised completion date for the drainage improvements has set the two Siesta Beach construction projects up for at least three months’ of overlap, which will likely result in cost-saving opportunities, both Boudreau and Gaubatz said.
“The Beach Road project is looking to cut costs,” Gaubatz said. “And we can save costs by coordinating with the beach improvements.”
The biggest cost savings will come from coordinating the earth-moving components of the two projects, officials said, allowing contractors to take advantage of equipment already on-site for the beach drainage project to be used on the initial phases of the beach improvements.
According to Boudreau and Gaubatz, contractors for the two projects are already meeting weekly to discuss how to best use resources and coordinate efforts to stay out of each other’s way.
“We’re looking to find the efficiencies to have one contractor perform what two could have done,” Boudreau said.
Asked if having two active construction sites at the area’s top tourism draw during the height of season could cause any logistical headaches for visitors and residents, Gaubatz said the two projects overlapping would not impact the public.
Boudreau pointed to the recent Siesta Key Crystal Classic, held Nov. 15 to Nov. 18 while work was ongoing at the Beach Road Drainage Improvements site, as an example of ongoing construction at the beach having little impact on tourism activities. Sarasota County Parks and Recreation staff coordinated with Crystal Classic organizers to minimize the impact on the annual sand-sculpting event.
“We were out of their way; we didn’t have any problems,” Boudreau said.
Asked if there was anything else he needed to get the Beach Road Drainage Improvements done by the new deadline, Boudreau replied, “good weather.”
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