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Town plans $1.8 million Emerald Harbor project

The town of Longboat Key has merged a roadway project with a utilities upgrade at the north island neighborhood.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. June 1, 2016
The town of Longboat Key has earmarked about $1.8 million for a major project in Emerald Harbor.
The town of Longboat Key has earmarked about $1.8 million for a major project in Emerald Harbor.
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Emerald Harbor roadways are sinking. And the sewer system below the Longboat Key subdivision is out-of-date and inefficient.

But the town has earmarked about $1.8 million for a major utility and roadway project that may start by the end of the year, according to Public Works Director Juan Florensa. The project is part of a $93 million capital budget staff presented to commissioners last month.

The problem stems from when the developers dredged the waterways for material to form the neighborhood, said Town Manager Dave Bullock.

“That might mean muck, roots, perhaps mangroves and trees — whatever happened to be in there,” Bullock said. “And over time a lot of that stuff deteriorates, and the land begins to sink.”

Town staff has whittled down the choice of an engineering firm for the project down to three companies, and design work will begin by July. It could take up to six months for the survey work to be completed.

“The permitting is not going to be that difficult because we’re just replacing the old pipes,” Florensa said.

About $1.5 million will be drawn from the town’s utility capital fund, while the remaining $300,000 is currently earmarked from the streets capital fund for the next fiscal year.

The town may undertake more projects in neighborhoods along the bay side of the island, as many were dredged and filled similarly to Emerald Harbor.

“Every place you see this pattern of canals and homesites, those are candidates for that,” Bullock said.

The town is also investigating a half dozen trouble spots in the sole wastewater pipeline, which could cost $20 million to replace. Commissioners will consider that decision later this year.

“The entire wastewater system environment operates in an environment of raw poop,” Bullock said. “So, it’s going to deteriorate constantly.”


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