Town Manager Dave Bullock announced at the end of the Longboat Key Town Commission’s Monday night meeting he will reject the only bid for the summer beach project the town received. That bid was 40% more than town staff expected and had a price tag of $13,290,525.50.
“We bid this project two months ago and got no bids,” Bullock said. “We made modifications and got one bid that’s too expensive.”
Bullock explained that the demand to rebuild the Northeast’s coastline from Superstorm Sandy’s destruction in October, among other variables, led to the lack of bids and the one overpriced bid.
“The only bidder told us he would leave the Northeast for six to eight weeks to do our project, but we would have to pay $5 million to move the dredge down here,” Bullock said.
Town staff and the town’s beach engineer have reviewed the Key’s coastline and determined that much of the shoreline is in good shape.
“We are hoping competition for dredges will ease within the next year,” Bullock said.
The town manager will have town staff prepare a bid that allows the town to use the $8,610,483.70 in federal funds the town received from Tropical Storm Debby’s sand losses and add some other sand-borrow options that dredge companies can use to extract sand.
“During the first half of next year, we will bid again and hopefully receive more competitive bids,” Bullock said.
The town might not be able to take advantage of a $5 million beach project reimbursement unless dredging companies are more open to using a narrow sand site next year.
The bid for the original project calls for the town to remove sand from a narrow sand borrow site miles out in the Gulf where Port Dolphin LLC is placing a natural-gas pipeline in the next couple of years.
Port Dolphin LLC has agreed to pay the reimbursement if the company moves forward with laying down its pipeline in a swath of beach-quality sand. Port Dolphin, though, may never get the permits or funding for its project, according to a memo sent to Bullock from Public Works Director Juan Florensa.
The beach project, expected to originally commence this summer, will eventually place sand at the Broadway beach access to Gulfside Road, and from the Islander Club condominiums to the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort (see sidebar for exact beach addresses that are receiving sand). The town is also trying to obtain permits to place an additional 55,000 cubic yards of sand in two other places on the Key (see sidebar).
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.
A project next year with a better price, Florensa said, might allow the town to place sand on other areas of the beach that may lose sand this summer.
Florensa, though, said a review of the shoreline shows some sand recovery and said areas where sand is needed the most are protected by concrete seawalls.
The following beachside addresses will be receiving sand:
• 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 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