LAKEWOOD RANCH — Lakewood Ranch Community Development District 5 supervisors are spending more than $200,000 to repair sunken storm-drain boxes in three Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club neighborhoods and also are investigating whether the problem is a result of faulty engineering plans or construction errors.
At least initially, work is being done on just the four storm drains with the most damage, which are located in the Portmarnock, Villamoura and Orchid Island neighborhoods, although other drains need repairs as well.
Work in Portmarnock is complete and work on two drains in Villamoura currently is under way. Repairs in Orchid Island are expected to begin Feb. 1.
“There are (other drains) that need various degrees of repair all from minor to moderate,” CDD Supervisor Dave Brucker said. “You can’t really tell (how much damage there is) until you get in and dig them out and get in there with an individual or a camera and take a look at it.”
In total, repairs to the four storm drains under contract are expected to cost between $216,000 and $256,000, Brucker said.
Crews from Frederick Durr & Co. were onsite in Villamoura last week, preparing two storm drains for subcontractors to come in and finish the remaining repairs.
Todd Rainey, Frederick Durr’s foreman for the project, said after the storm drains are cleaned, subcontractors will come in, drill holes in the bottom of the drain and pump in a mixture of mud and concrete to push the concrete drains upward and back to surface level. Another subcontractor then will come in to line pipes or make other necessary repairs.
Brucker said the storm-drain issue has been more about aesthetics than safety, although some of the sidewalks, pavement and curbs around damaged storm drains have cracked. Sections of sidewalk have been blocked off only in one part of Villamoura.
Brucker said CDD 5 has tried contacting the storm drains’ original contractors, Lombardo, Skipper & Foley and Gigliotti Contracting, multiple times, but neither firm has responded.
CDD 5 supervisors now have hired Sarasota attorney Joel Walters, who specializes in faulty construction claims, to look into the matter.
“We have hired a special counsel who specialized in this type of litigation to take a look at facts and consultant reports,” Brucker said. “From our standpoint, something isn’t right. These storm-box drains shouldn’t have settled.”
But, Brucker advised, the investigation does not necessarily ensure legal action will ensue.
“Just the fact that we hired somebody to take a look at a basis for litigation doesn’t mean we’ve made a decision one way or the other,” he said.
Brucker said he expects to have a recommendation on the issue at the board’s January meeting.
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