The town braced for headaches associated with a Bradenton Beach sewer line project, but commissioners have received few complaints.
| 11:00 a.m. February 15, 2023
Traffic on the north end of Longboat has ramped up, but it is unclear whether the Bradenton Beach sewer line replacement project is the cause or if it's just the annual culprit: busy seasonal traffic.
The Manatee County Public Works Department is working on replacing and relocating a portion of the gravity sewer collection system for the city on Anna Maria Island.
The project includes installation of about one mile of new sewer main along Gulf Drive. Twenty-one maintenance holes will be installed along with 100 new 6-inch service laterals, which serve as connections between a private property and the sewer main in the right of way.
The new pipeline will extend from the current pipe on Gulf Drive down each side street from Sixth Street to 13th Street.
Road repairs are included in the county’s plans.
The construction, though inevitable, caused some Longboat Key residents to prepare for the likely headache the project would cause in combination with the increase in traffic through the busy season.
“As if construction in Sarasota is not enough, this will be impacting our residents going to Bradenton,” Commissioner BJ Bishop wrote in an email.
However, Mayor Ken Schneier said he has not heard that residents are being impacted yet.
"I have heard no complaints at all about north-end traffic," he said.
He personally recalled a traffic problem he experienced last Tuesday afternoon. He sat on the Longboat Pass bridge for about 30 minutes before making the decision to turn around. Schneier said he could not say for sure if the issue was caused by the sewer line project.
According to the city’s website, no lane closures are expected, but traffic shifts are made to accommodate work being done. The city plans weekend work to be limited. The regular construction schedule runs 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Parking along Gulf Drive on the Gulf side is limited, pushing beach-goers farther south.
The repairs and replacement of the sewer infrastructure will improve the resiliency of the Bradenton Beach sewer system, increase its capacity and reduce the risks of pipeline leaks, the city’s website said. The project is also supposed to reduce groundwater infiltration into the system, limiting the amount of water the sewer treatment plant is expected to handle.
The project was part of the county’s capital improvement plan. The final cost of the project is expected to be about $7.1 million.
As it stands, construction is planned for completion in late 2024 as weather conditions allow.
Protects public and environmental health by preventing sanitary system overflows caused by aging sewer pipes.
Improves service reliability by relocating sewer lateral connections to the County right-of-way for ease of maintenance and repairs.
Increases private property access and use by eliminating existing utility easements.
Extends the service life of existing roads by preventing gravity main leaks that cause pavement damage.
Improves pumping capacity and avoids costly replacement of the existing lift station by eliminating storm and ground water infiltration.
Alleviates potential sanitary sewer backups by removing multi-property connections and providing each property with its own connection to the gravity main.
Reduces odor in the community during the maintenance of the sanitary sewer collection system.
Longboat Key residents on the Manatee County side of the island will not experience an increase in sewer bill rates following the project, the project site says.
Traffic congestion continues on south end
Motorists were told to expect daytime traffic delays Monday and Tuesday in the area of the roundabout at U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation Southwest Florida division, a lane closure was planned for the majority of both days starting at 7 a.m. and concluding at 4 p.m.
The northbound outside lane of U.S. 41 between Gulfstream Avenue and Fruitville Road remained closed as crews installed underground piping for storm draining on U.S. 41 at First Street.
The daytime closures this week are far from the only pains the new roundabout has caused a couple of months following its official opening. While the roundabout itself opened at the end of 2022, FDOT is still working on finishing the project. Hurricane Ian was the major hiccup in construction plans that were continually on track to be fully completed by the end of 2022 as materials, equipment and manpower were sent south.
One of the worst backups experienced by daytime closures occurred last month as motorists were stuck in traffic coming off the island for hours causing some to miss doctor’s appointments and flights.
“I took an oath to ensure the health, welfare and safety of our citizens,” Commissioner BJ Bishop wrote following the incident. “That mission failed miserably this week. It cannot happen again.”
Since those unexpected lane closures, FDOT has sent notifications of lane closures ahead of time.