Sarasota County will spend as much as $250,000 to retrofit the north end of Beach Road for vehicle access, but it may not be the only time spending will be required.
County Administrator Randall Reid approved an emergency-procurement request for funding Nov. 5, for Frederick Derr & Co. to repair the portion of roadway that collapsed one week earlier. As of Nov. 7, the contractor chosen for the repair is waiting for the go-ahead from county staff.
Staff recommended a design-build approach for the long-term fix, which means the county would hire one contractor to complete the design and construction of a mitigation solution for Beach Road erosion, after looking at quotes from various firms. That would cost about $2 million depending on permitting requirements from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the possibility of underground utility lines, according to a Nov. 2 memo from County Engineer Jim Harriott.
But, county commissioners assigned staff to secure an independent engineering study and look at the county’s legal obligations for such a fix because the street is a public asset.
“It may never be repaired properly, and I don’t want to keep pouring money into a black hole,” County Commissioner Joe Barbetta said during the reports section of a Nov. 6 County Commission meeting.
“I just don’t want to jump into a design-build approach without someone totally independent looking at this with no horse in the race,” Barbetta said.
Derr said bringing in an outside engineer would only stretch the timeline of a long-term solution for Beach Road.
“That’s a terrible waste of money to hire an engineer who doesn’t know anything about this to go out there and go to school on this,” Derr said during a Nov. 7 phone interview.
County staff will present options for a permanent fix while Derr’s firm puts the temporary repair in place; the long-term solution is expected to take as long as two years to be completed.
“During that time, it is likely the county will need to provide several temporary fixes each at the current estimate or more depending on the type of weather event or tidal forces involved,” Harriot said in the memo.