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Sarasota Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 3 years ago

City Commission to review lift station recommendations

by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

At Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, commissioners will get an update from the engineering firm they hope will finally finish the job of constructing Lift Station 87.

The city hired McKim & Creed in August to assume responsibility for the oft-delayed project, after the prior engineering firm was fired for its inability to complete the work. Since then, McKim & Creed has been conducting research to determine how to proceed with the project before formally beginning the design process.

Project Manager Robert Garland, vice president at McKim & Creed, said in December the firm is now confident in its ability to successfully design and carry out a plan to complete the work at Lift Station 87, located at 1900 Mound St. in Luke Wood Park.

The plan, as presented at a Dec. 18 community meeting, involves a combination of open-cut and microtunneling techniques to install underground pipes that will divert sewage from Lift Station 7, located near the Hudson Bayou at 935 Pomelo Ave., to the new lift station.

The previous engineering firm was fired for its inability to successfully microtunnel beneath the bayou, and the city is currently in litigation with the company for its failure to complete the project. Garland said the problem was with the previous approach, not with the process of microtunneling itself. After conducting research of the geological conditions, he said, he was confident microtunneling could be carried out successfully.

“We felt the previous design didn’t take into account the geological subsurface conditions,” Garland said. “By doing the exhaustive investigation we did, we now have a better snapshot of what’s going on, and we’ll be able to construct it successfully.”

If the recommendations are approved, McKim & Creed will begin work on a full-fledged design to be completed by April. The group hopes to begin construction in October, and to finish the project by November 2015. Garland was unable to estimate the cost of the next phase of design work in December; the project has cost the city more than $8 million to date.

Also on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting:

• Commissioners will consider whether to approve the purchase of a new records management and computer-aided dispatch system for the Sarasota Police Department. The commission passed on the purchase of the same system, which would cost about $850,000, at its Oct. 21 meeting.

• Commissioners will discuss the city’s financial contribution to the operating costs of a potential city-based regional homeless shelter.

In the wake of a recent Government-in-the-Sunshine Law suit, City Attorney Robert Fournier will lead a discussion about the city’s policy on how to handle meetings attended by two or more commissioners.

Contact David Conway at [email protected].

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