Construction wraps up at Kingfish Boat Ramp
The deadline to complete improvements at the Kingfish Boat Ramp is less than two weeks away.
Construction has been ongoing for three weeks, and some boaters have complained about a lack of lighting around the ramp, said James Santjer, one of the project workers for Oneco Concrete and Asphalt.
“They just need to know that the lighting is coming back,” Santjer said. “Right now, they can’t see because there’s no lights to put the boats in.”
Walter Sow, project manager from Manatee County, said the lights were removed to install piping for improved drainage around the ramp.
Sow said the construction estimate is $392,000. There will be 23 additional spaces for trucks with trailers and an additional 17 spaces for vehicles without trailers.
Another improvement will be defined, paved entry and exit drives in the parking lot — no more driving on and off the road along the length of the ramp lot.
But pedestrians walking beside Manatee Avenue could be the real beneficiaries of the project. A sidewalk soon will be finished between the Kingfish parking lot and Manatee Avenue. Before construction began, there was little pedestrian room between vehicles on Manatee Avenue and the Kingfish lot.
The property is owned by the Florida Department of Transportation.
“FDOT is still trying to hash out how they want the curbing connected to the bridge,” Sow said.
Sow said those at the DOT who are associated with the project want to make sure the curb is short enough to allow stormwater flowing from the road to drain over the curb.
Santjer said the only thing holding up the project is the DOT’s decision on if it wants the sidewalk from the Kingfish Boat Ramp entrance to run all the way to the Anna Maria Island Bridge.
Capt. Hank Williams of Wet Willy Charters on Anna Maria Island has used the boat ramp for about 15 years and looks forward to the project’s completion.
“It’s a good protected boat ramp to use 90 percent of the year,” Williams said. “The only time you have any issues is when you have a due north wind. Other than that, it’s a good location.”