Bradenton Beach approves plan for Avenue C

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Some ponding is evident Oct. 10 along Avenue C in Bradenton Beach. Islander Photo: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

Bradenton Beach is moving forward with plans to restore Avenue C with enhanced stormwater infiltration.

City engineer Lynn Burnett led the fourth in a series of work sessions at city hall Oct. 9 to explain stormwater improvements and garner resident input on restoring rights of way and driveways along Avenue C, which has been torn up since early 2018 as part of the Manatee County force main project.

During the work session, the commission unanimously approved authorization for Burnett to move forward with a contract with Westra Construction Corp., the county’s contractor for the project, to install stormwater infiltration and then restore driveways and rights of way along Avenue C.

Burnett said the Southwest Florida Water Management District is providing a 50/50 match for stormwater infiltration projects along avenues B and C for the next three fiscal years.

According to Burnett, the Federal Clean Water Act requires infiltration systems to discharge the water and ensure the water is cleaned of pollutants before flowing into Sarasota Bay.

She said new projects must have a “water quality component” to be eligible for Swiftmud grant reimbursement.

Avenue C was planned for construction following the completion of the county’s work in late summer 2019, but the city has been given the opportunity to piggyback the county’s contract with Westra to install a drainage system along Avenue C while the road is torn up, Burnett said.

Previously, the commission committed to restoring the driveways and rights of way along Avenue C — with pavers, concrete, asphalt or sod — following the drainage project.

Burnett said the goals of the project are to restore the road so people are no longer living in a “mud-hole,” reduce flooding and improve runoff water-quality.

The plan is to cover the 4-foot-wide roadside infiltration systems with Geogrid — a stabilization material — and replace the materials people had previously used in their yards, including sod, shell and rock, over the Geogrid.

Burnett said the stormwater improvements would cost about $170,000 before Swiftmud reimbursement.

The driveway and rights of way restoration will cost about $141,000 and will be funded with city reserves and not matched by Swiftmud.

Burnett said Westra could start installing infiltration systems in November, wrap-up by February 2019 and final driveway and right of way restoration could conclude March-April.

She said the project would take “45 working days,” but she included buffer time for the holidays, and added that piggybacking on the county project saves the city about $20,000.

Dorothy Blum, an Avenue C resident, encouraged the commission to authorize finishing the project as soon as possible.

“It’s just been amazing what we have to go through,” Blum said. “Filth in the house. Dirt in the house.” And standing water in front of the house that was not there before the project, she added.

Burnett said the county was made aware of the ponding problems and Westra will regrade portions of the road where the preliminary, thin layer of asphalt recently was installed.

She said the road will again be graded as part of the completed project.

“As the city engineer, you’ve reviewed these grades and you know what has to be done?” Chappie asked Burnett.

“Signed and sealed,” Burnett responded.

Several other Avenue C residents spoke to the burden the project has created, including sewage smells, mud tracked into homes and delays when trucks couldn’t deliver mail due to construction.

Denise Saunders, an Avenue C property owner, said she is disappointed that they will have construction on the road for two tourist seasons.

“A lot of us have rental units,” Saunders said. “This is our time, this is when we make our money and nobody wants to go on vacation and hear trucks at 7 a.m.”

Commissioner Jake Spooner made a motion to move forward with the contract with Westra for the stormwater and restoration project, which was unanimously approved.

“At this time, I think this is the best product that gives the best performance for this amount of money and this time frame we’re on,” Spooner said. “Let’s get everyone on Avenue C’s quality of life back to where you want it to be.”

The commission will discuss the project and vote on Burnett’s proposal at noon Thursday, Oct. 18, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.