In 1986, Sarasota County permanently closed one lane of north Beach Road, as the street continued to crumble under the threat of erosion and residents complained about white stakes placed in the middle of the street.
But Nov. 19, Fred Derr & Co. workers began tearing away the remaining asphalt on the same stretch of road to prepare it for a $250,000 repair, so residents and tenants can reach the adjacent properties.
County Administrator Randall Reid authorized funding for the work using the emergency procurement procedure.
County engineer Jim Harriott began preparing a permanent solution that would have to be included in the capital improvement-program budget at an estimated cost of $2 million. That got more complicated after the County Commission asked for a comprehensive assessment of the area during a November board meeting.
The outcome could determine whether the county will do a long-term fix.
“The county wants to spend taxpayer money to see if we’re doing it wrong,” said Derr said. “I’m certainly opposed to it because it’s like reinventing the wheel.”
The company installed a similar structure on Casey Key of what is proposed for Beach Road. The Casey Key fix has protected and improved the amount of sand in the targeted area.
But, County Coastal Resources Manager Laird Wreford said in a prior phone interview that it’s difficult to determine if an erosion solution will work in a certain location.
“I just don’t want to jump into a design-build approach to fix the road, without somebody totally independent looking at this, with no horse in the race,” said Commissioner Joe Barbetta.
Commissioners also asked for a legal analysis of the situation to determine the county’s obligations regarding public access to the site and a report on the possibility of reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“I don’t know if that road can ever be fixed properly,” Barbetta said. “I don’t want to keep pouring money into a black hole.”
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