- May 2, 2023
Country Club Shores residents should expect construction on an aging, asbestos cement water line as early as the end of this summer.
Once the entirety of the project is completed, a brand-new water main, which supplies water to the area, will run through all of Country Club Shores. However, Country Club Shores IV and V are the first on the list for the pipe replacement as they have the most critical need and will be the most extensive piece of the project. The entire pipe measures about 15,000 linear feet.
“The whole project itself basically involves installing all new water mains throughout all of the phases of Country Club Shores,” Public Works Director Isaac Brownman said. “It’s going to help significantly with operations, minimize the number of breaks that occur with the pipe. As the material breaks down over time, we don’t want to get to a point where we need to be mindful of the asbestos component of it. Right now, we’re in decent shape in terms of that. However, because of the fragile nature of the pipe and the breaks it experienced, we thought it prudent to replace the water system out there.”
Asbestos cement pipe materials are rarely used anymore, if at all. The one in the Country Club Shores neighborhoods was installed in the 1960s.
Country Club Shores is the only area of the island that is still using the outdated pipe. Once completed, Brownman expects the project will cost about $9.5 million.
The project to replace the water mains is out to bid and town staff is evaluating the ones it has received before deciding who to contract for the work. Design for the first two phases, which cover the final two neighborhoods in Country Club Shores, is complete.
In these phases, workers will have to tear into the roadway due to the location of the pipeline and the lack of space in the right-of-way outside the pavement.
“We’ll be putting the water main under the roadways, which is not unusual from a utility standpoint,” Brownman said. “There’s no other room. It’s just the nature of what we are going to have to do on this project.”
The goal in the remaining two phases of the project, which include Country Club Shores I, II and III, is to limit effects to the roadway.
The town is currently awaiting final approval for $1.54 million in state appropriations from Gov. Ron DeSantis and a federal grant for about $12 million is still up in the air. For several years, the town has had about $7 million in its capital budget for the whole project, knowing the water mains would need to be replaced in the near future. However with the state of inflation, the majority of that initial $7 million is needed for the first two phases. Costs are higher for the first half of the project to cover tearing up roadways and resurfacing them after the pipe is placed.
The ask from the federal government is higher because of the reporting and extra hands needed to meet the requirements for the funding.
“There’s certain grants, particularly federal grants, that once you get them there can be such significant strings attached it actually drives the cost up for the contractor to meet those requirements of reporting, minimum payrolls and other environmental things they are expected to look after,” Brownman said. “We don’t think the project costs $12 million alone on construction, but if you start adding all these other things into it, requirements, those can add up.”
Phases 1 and 2 of the project are expected to start as early as the end of this summer and take about 18 months to complete. For the remaining two phases, which cover the rest of Country Club Shores, the start date remains unknown.
Once the initial phases near completion, town staff will evaluate what funds remain available and begin looking to set a schedule for completing the remaining phases.