A Florida Department of Transportation manager has questioned why the city of Sarasota wants to proceed with a sewer project that could hamper the start of renovations on the north Siesta bridge.
During the Jan. 5 meeting of the Siesta Key Association, Dave McAnaney, senior project manager for city consultant Stantec, said plans call for the replacement of a sewer main line on the north end of the Key to be completed by June 1. The cast-iron pipeline is about 40 years old, McAnaney explained.
However, Albert Rosenstein, FDOT engineering manager who is heading up the bridge project, asked McAnaney, “Why can’t you start the project in November, when we’re out of there, because (FDOT) has gone through a lot of hoops to make sure our project is as painless as possible for folks out here (on the Key)?”
McAnaney replied that the city had to obtain approximately a dozen permits involving four or five agencies. The contract the city is expected to award to a Miami contractor will have a 180-day term, he added. If the contract is signed Feb. 1, McAnaney said, it would expire Nov. 1, necessitating the application for permit extensions.
Glenn Marzluf, general manager for the city’s Public Works Department, explained that the city would be replacing numerous sewer lines to guard against leaks. “This is just one part of that much larger project and this is one of our key parts,” Marzluf said.
“If there’s any likelihood at all of the project not being complete and cleared by the time your project is going to begin,” Marzluf told Rosenstein, “we’ll push it (back).”
Rosenstein reminded Marzluf and the approximately 30 other people present that a bridge renovation project involving Anna Maria Island several years ago was supposed to take a few weeks, and it dragged out for more than three months, because the Alabama contractor ran into unexpected equipment problems.
“You can say you want ’em out of there (by June 1), but what if they’re not?” Rosenstein asked, adding, “I’m just trying to play devil’s advocate here … There’s a lot of traffic that goes over that bridge.”
If another contractor got in the way of the FDOT work, Rosenstein said, delays would increase the cost, which has been projected at $3.49 million. “That’s what I want to avoid more than anything.”
McAnaney responded, “Once the contractor has his materials delivered and is set up, he really shouldn’t be in anybody’s way. Still, we want him out of there before your work starts.”
If problems arise, Rosenstein said, “DOT is the one that gets the calls … and we’re the ones making the adjustments.”
McAnaney also told the audience the sewer line contractor was expected to use FDOT right of way on the south side of the bridge, to stage his work. However, McAnaney said that while that would be the logical process, he could not be sure that would be the contractor’s choice of sites.
That raised another problem, Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson said. The Palmer Point Park project’s use of the FDOT right of way on the north side of the bridge was supposed to start Nov. 1, she said, but “because of some dickering back and forth with the contractor” over changes in plans, it had not.
The county already had secured a permit for use of FDOT’s right of way on the north side of the bridge for offloading dredge material from barges the contractor plans send up the Intracoastal Waterway to that site, Patterson told the group. The county is restoring part of Palmer Point, which was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ dredging of the ICW in the 1960s.
If the city’s contractor, Intercounty Engineering Inc., decided to use that northern FDOT bridge right of way as well, Patterson added, “it might be a problem … You probably don’t want both things going on simultaneously on the same side, because there’s not a huge amount of land there.”
“I agree,” said Paul Semenac, the county’s manager for the Palmer Point Park project.
Marzluf insisted the contractor would have to use FDOT right of way on the south side of the bridge, but McAnaney told the audience, “The contractor will select and negotiate his staging area. We have no way to dictate that.”
SKA board member Bob Waechter said it was fortuitous that McAnaney, Marzluf, Rosenstein and Semenac all were attending the meeting to discuss potential problems, though it would have been better if they had met earlier. Still, Waechter said, “I don’t see any insurmountable obstacles.”
Rosenstein replied that he had spoken by phone with the city project representatives. “It’s just that we’re getting closer and closer to our June date.”
SKA President Catherine Luckner asked all the project managers to provide a summary of their plans for the organization, once all the questions about timelines had been answered. The SKA then would provide that on its website and its Facebook page, she said.
Siesta project first in city’s sewer replacement plans
The city of Sarasota’s Public Works Department has embarked upon a project to replace all its aging sewer pipelines that run under local bodies of water and over the tops of bridges, to prevent the possibility of spills. The infrastructure scheduled for replacement is on Bay Island; Lido, Bird and Coon keys; and St. Armands.
The first project, estimated at $224,000, involves the laying of an 8-inch sewer force main under the bay by the north Siesta bridge. It has been planned to replace a cast-iron pipeline that is about 40 years old. The new pipeline, which will stretch 1,580 feet, will be inserted about 20 feet below the bay bottom through a process called “directional drilling,” according to Dave McAnaney, senior project manager of Stantec in Sarasota.
All of the work is expected to take place well off Siesta Drive, McAnancy said, though some section of the sidewalk might be closed to pedestrians while the project is way.
The work is expected to take about five weeks once it begins, with a completion date of June 1 to be specified for the contractor.
The City Commission is scheduled to award the bid for the work Jan. 17 to Intercounty Engineering Inc. of Miami, the low bidder on the project, McAnaney said.
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