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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

DOT coming to Holmes Beach

Representatives of the Florida Department of Transportation will meet with the Holmes Beach City Commission April 12 to discuss construction of the Key Royale Bridge.

DOT engineer Ed Ponce said the meeting is to discuss general topics such as job scope, status of design progress, possible issues with permitting or utilities, a brief description of the research funding, concerns with constructability and residents concerns regarding construction activities.

Ponce said the meeting is not a "formal" public hearing, but just to answer questions and inform the city of the status of the bridge.

Construction is expected to start in January 2006, eight years after the DOT first considered the proposal. Holmes Beach is paying for construction of a new Key Royale Bridge and will be reimbursed in a future DOT budget.

The DOT had planned to fund construction in the 2006-07 budget cycle, but pushed that back to 2008-09. Following that action, the city decided to fund the cost on its own and will receive reimbursement in the funding year from DOT.

City Treasurer Rick Ashley said this week that "DOT has not given us final numbers yet and as far as I know the DOT is still working on permits and final design documents. We were supposed to have the numbers by the first of this calendar year according to their discusion with us last summer, but things are running behind on their end."

Ashley said the funding plan will be to borrow the construction money on short term finanacing administered by the Florida Association of Counties. "Other than a preliminary application and approval, which was done last summer, nothing has been commited" or finalized, he said.

The city budgeted $1.3 million in the 2004-05 budget in anticipation the construction phase would have begun this summer, according to Ashley. "More than likely none of this will happen now until next year and we will have to include it again at that time. I hope we know a lot more after their April 12 visit."

The DOT presentation will be on the agenda for the regular city meeting at city hall.