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Country Club Shores asbestos pipe replacement begins

The multiphase project on Longboat Key will start with Country Club Shores IV and V and will wrap up by early 2025 before proceeding to the final two phases.

Residents should see equipment mobilizing on Bogey Lane by early November, according to Public Works Director Isaac Brownman.
Residents should see equipment mobilizing on Bogey Lane by early November, according to Public Works Director Isaac Brownman.
Photo by Carter Weinhofer
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Country Club Shores is the only area on Longboat Key that still has asbestos concrete water lines. 

But that’s going to change soon. 

Country Club Shores IV and V will be the first sections to receive the upgrades. Contractors for the project were issued the official “notice to proceed” on Oct. 2. 

Since then, crews began ordering materials and completed pre-construction surveys. 

According to Public Works Director Isaac Brownman, residents should hopefully see equipment by early November, starting on Bogey Lane. 

The water line replacement will operate in phases. 

Phase 1 covers Country Club Shores V, and is estimated to last until late spring to early summer 2024. Phase 2, which is Country Club Shores IV, will immediately follow Phase 1 and last through early 2025. 

Phase 1 and 2 are the largest and most complex phases of the project. The entire pipe is about 15,000 linear feet long. 

Country Club Shores IV and V will be the first of the neighborhoods to get their water main replaced.
Courtesy photo

Brownman said once the first two phases have been “substantially completed,” then the town will plan to continue to Phases 3 and 4. Phase 3 corresponds to Country Club Shores III, and Phase 4 would complete the project with Country Club Shores I and II. 

“Once we get them all done, we don’t believe there’s any more asbestos cement pipe within the town of Longboat Key,” Brownman said. 

Currently, the water pipes for Country Club shores are made of an outdated material called asbestos cement. The upgrades will replace those pipes with new polyvinyl chloride. 

“PVC is a bit longer-lasting; it’s much easier to repair,” Brownman said. “It’s not as fragile, at all, as the asbestos cement.”

Over time, Brownman said the asbestos cement wears away and becomes brittle. Asbestos cement lines are rarely used anymore — the one used in Country Club Shores was installed in the 1960s. 

“So we end up having a lot of breaks that we need to respond to out in that area,” he said. “And it’s just not a material we use anymore. When we do a repair, we use other materials and connect to that.” 

Overall, the process as it stands is inefficient, according to Brownman. 

A lot of the necessary work for this project is underground, in the grassy areas of the right of way. As a result, Brownman said the crews will have to dig up the roads to put the water lines in the roadway. 

But after the lines are replaced, the roads will be repaved. The goal for the last two phases of the project is to limit the impacts to the roadway. 

Throughout the duration of the project, Brownman said the only time utilities will be interrupted will be at the time of the final connection. 

“Our contractor and our town team will work with each property owner before that final connection is made,” Brownman said. “But up until then, they won’t see any disruption in service.” 

The town currently budgeted about $7 million to complete construction for all of Country Club Shores, and it has kept some money dedicated to this project in capital budget reserves for several years. 

But, due to inflation, the majority of that $7 million will be needed for the first two phases, including costs to cover the water line replacement and any necessary roadway resurfacing. 

The project initially went out to bid earlier this year. In the end, the low bidder was Spectrum Underground, Inc. with a price of just over $5.5 million. Brownman said the town is pleased with the price. 

Longboat Key was also awarded a state grant in the amount of $1.54 million to help offset the costs. 

After construction wraps up for Phases 1 and 2, then the town will look at remaining funds to determine a schedule for completing the rest of the project.



Carter Weinhofer

Carter Weinhofer is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, he moved to St. Petersburg to attend Eckerd College until graduating in 2023. During his entire undergraduate career, he worked at the student newspaper, The Current, holding positions from science reporter to editor-in-chief.

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