Dump trucks will rumble to and from Siesta Key public beach next year to move loads of dirt from a Sarasota County project.
Attendees at the open house for the public beach project Nov. 13 gave their opinions on how many trips those trucks will make based on two options for the Beach Road drainage improvements.
Sarasota County commissioners will consider the choice of projects Dec. 11; the decision comes down to a balance between island aesthetics and taxpayer money.
As part of the first option, the county would remove the 26,000 cubic yards of soil from the beach road site and store it elsewhere. Then, when the time came, they’d return some of the dirt for use in the Siesta Key public beach enhancement project.
But if commissioners approve a second option, the county would, instead, leave a 4-foot pile of dirt at the drainage project location in anticipation of the beach project and plant a 20-foot-wide buffer made of trees and shrubs. During the open house, County Resources Manager Hank Schneider said that the landscaping buffer wouldn’t completely hide the pile of excess soil.
County staff estimates the first option will cost more than triple that of the second option, which carries a forecasted price tag of $120,000, and will require 670 more round trips for dump trucks.
The contractor chosen for the drainage project is expected to start work after Easter on the new retention pond, which will generate the excess soil, with construction coming in fall.
But, the county is still waiting for the final design on the beach project, and questions remain regarding how it will be funded, both of which could extend the lag between completion of the drainage improvements and start of the beach enhancements.
The county has the full $2.8 million of total cost earmarked for the Beach Road project, which consists of a $975,000 grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District and funds from the penny surtax.
Option one: Remove all excavated soil
1,800 dump truck loads
$200,000 cost to move soil off site
670 dump truck loads a year later
$180,000 total cost to deliver soil back to sire
$380,000 total cost for option one
Option two: Leave some soil for Siesta park project
1,100 dump trucks to remove excess soil
$120,000 cost to move soil offsite
26,000 cubic yards of soil remain at site
20 foot wide landscaping buffer to shield 4-foot dirt pile (diagram, left)
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