Half-century old piping is being replaced.
While there are still piles of sand, piping, orange traffic cones and construction vehicles around Emerald Harbor, the subdivision’s $3 million utilities and streets replacement and paving project is on schedule to be completed by June.
“It’s a big project and a lot of us have been surprised to see what’s been coming out of the ground,” said Susan Jones, secretary of the Emerald Harbor Homeowners Association. Besides 50-year-old pipes and cables, contractors have had to remove a good number of trees to place the new pipes, she said.
The project, which began in July, is part of the town’s master plan to replace aging infrastructure on the island. Funding for the project – which is roughly at the halfway completed - was set aside years ago from water and sewer fees. Gas tax revenue is paying for the street-resurfacing portion of the work, the last phase of the project.
“We hired Magnum Builders of Sarasota Inc. to be our construction manager for the project,” said Isaac Brownman, Public Works Director in an email.
“The project is moving forward and Magnum is making adjustments as needed to deliver the project on time.”
Saltwater in the soil has, over time, corroded the underground metal pipes in the 80-home community. That, in turn, has caused an unpleasant odor, led to slow-draining sinks, and sinkholes on the subdivision’s roads. The metal pipes used in Emerald Harbor a half century ago are in the process of being replaced by PVC pipes, which are corrosion resistant and should last 60 to 80 years.
Brownman said demucking -- removal of unsuitable soil materials that could later cause roads to settle -- has been completed and curbs are being restored throughout Emerald Harbor Drive and Old Compass Road. The connection and testing of the new water main on Binnacle Point Drive has been done and rehabilitation of Lift Station 4C – used to move wastewater – has also been finished.
“They have hired an additional onsite inspector, which has been helpful, and are exploring other opportunities to improve productivity on the project to complete on time and as expected,” Brownman said.
In addition, all the storm water structures and pipes have been installed, and all of the water main and force main pipes are now in place, Brownman said.
The next portion of the project will involve the rehabilitation of the remaining lift stations, pressure testing and connecting new force mains, as well as the completion of all water main connections, which will then be put into service. Roads still need to be paved and any of the areas damaged by the project need to be fixed.
Jones said a representative from Magnum, as well as the town, plan to meet with homeowners association officers to give a project update before the association’s annual meeting on Feb. 12.