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BB pier reconstruction project takes step forward

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

Visitors to the Historic Bridget Street Pier enjoy their day. The pier reconstruction project is back on schedule after the city approved an engineering contract Feb. 7. Islander Photo: Mark Young

The Bradenton Beach Historic Bridge Street Pier reconstruction project saw a significant step forward Feb. 7 after months of delays.

The project consists of replacing 151 pilings and the wood decking. Planning for the project began about a year ago, but passing tropical storms and failed negotiations with the engineer of record stalled the project.

The city decided to send out a request for proposal when insurance obstacles ended negotiations with Sago and Sago Engineering.

ZNS Engineering’s response to the RFP was the lone response. Commissioners accepted the RFP and approved the contract Feb. 7 at the city commission meeting.

“This is nearly identical to contracts we have with all professional services,” said city attorney Ricinda Perry.

Perry said the only difference was the cost of services, which were reduced from the original RFP, which estimated $33,000 for engineering services.

Through continued negotiations, some unnecessary services were removed. Commissioners approved an expenditure of $27,500 in retaining ZNS, although the actual costs may still prove to be lower due to some completed aspects of the engineering study.

Commissioner Gay Breuler moved to approve the ZNS contract. Commissioner Jan Vosburgh seconded the motion, which passed 5-0.

The contract approval authorizes ZNS to develop a scope of work for the pier reconstruction, which in turn will allow the city to move forward with putting the project out for bid.

Building official Steve Gilbert was not at the Feb. 7 commission meeting, but did attend a city pier team meeting earlier that day.

Gilbert said ZNS now has all the documents and is “ready to hit the ground running.”

The project could still be months away, however. Commissioners have previously expressed concern about beginning the project during tourist season, and have indicated they may wait until the winter-spring tourism season ends.

That timeline might be in line with the work still remaining before final bids are released and a contractor hired, which is an altogether separate process.

In other city matters, commissioners unanimously approved the appointment of an attorney from Blalock Walters, P.A., to replace special master Harold Youmans, who resigned his position with the city Dec. 11.

William Robinson Jr. will be the city’s primary special master to hear future variance requests.

Perry said the city advertised the position on two separate occasions.

“We put a lot of effort in getting submissions and only received two,” said Perry. “One of which is not a licensed attorney and it was a requirement that any applicant be a licensed attorney, so we really only had one applicant.”

Breuler moved to accept Robinson as the city’s special master. Vosburgh seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

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