The town is in the planning stages of replacing an old Manatee County water line attached to Longboat Pass Bridge that pumps water to the island from Anna Maria Island.
Last week, a barge scoured the Gulf floor in Longboat Pass while searching for a good place to place the future pipe.
“The barge is gathering information about the subsurface so we know where to place the line and where we can drill safely,” Florensa said.
The $1.9 million project, which is still being designed and permitted, is set to begin construction in late 2013 and be complete in late 2014.
The project isn’t expected to cause any water disruptions for Longboaters, because the current 30-year-old pipe will be kept in place and functioning while the new pipe is installed and connected on the southern tip of Anna Maria Island.
Public Works Director Juan Florensa said the project is a long time coming.
“The existing line is old and hangs off a bridge that’s nearing the end of its lifespan,” Florensa said.
Water pipelines that connect islands and act as a main water source are also no longer connected to bridges, because if the bridge were damaged by a storm or struck by a boat, the water source would be in jeopardy.
“Utilities can’t be hung on bridges now,” Florensa said. “There’s a need to replace this line.”
The 1,800-square-foot pipeline will be 16 inches in diameter and will sit at least two-dozen feet below the bay’s bottom.
Once the new water line is in place, Florensa said the old water line would stay in place in case of emergencies, as a backup for the island.
The project’s announcement comes three years after the town and the city of Sarasota completed a water-interconnect project for a backup source of island water.
Although the town’s main source of water comes from and will continue to come from Manatee County, the Sarasota line allows for greater flexibility during times of emergencies.
The town installed a pipeline in 2008 in Sarasota Bay to gain access to city of Sarasota water for emergency use only.