Bradenton Beach confronted by rising cost of floating dock

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People look out over Sarasota Bay and walk the planks at the Historic Bridge Street Pier April 4 in Bradenton Beach. The ramp that once carried people to the floating dock has remained closed since August 2017 as the city awaits a new floating dock. Islander Photo: Ryan Paice

Hurry up and wait.

After 20 months of planning, a failed contract and the scraping of parts, the floating dock now might undergo new engineering and a rise in cost.

Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale, lead contact on the dock project and pier team chair, presented two cost proposals from Hecker Construction for installing a floating dock at the Historic Bridge Street Pier during an April 3 meeting of the community redevelopment agency.

One proposal would use 36 wood pilings wrapped in PVC and cost $81,600 for the remaining work, including assembly, delivery and installation. A second proposal would use 25 composite pilings and cost $105,754.

Technomarine, the company originally contracted to build and install the dock, planned to use concrete pilings but Hecker submitted engineering specifications for composite pilings in March and, later, wood pilings. The choice of pilings will be made by the CRA, depending on which proposal is approved.

Hecker — a Gibsonton-based marine construction contractor now working directly for the city — was initially contracted by Technomarine to assemble and install the dock components that were shipped from Spain to Hecker’s yard in Gibsonton.

Speciale said composite piles are stronger and more expensive, but he’s concerned with the number of required wood piles in the first proposal. Hecker would space 50 wood pilings 5-feet apart, but Speciale said building official Steve Gilbert is concerned the plans might be over-engineered.

Speciale said the city could hire another engineer to look over Hecker’s engineering and investigate whether the city could be more cost-effective in its planning.

“It’s like getting a second opinion from a doctor or something,” CRA Chair Ralph Cole said.

City attorney Ricinda Perry said Hecker agreed to complete the work specified in the contract with Technomarine for around $27,000. She said because Hecker’s proposals both ask for more money than the city agreed to pay, she doesn’t the contractor’s plans.

Eric Shaffer, Hecker’s project manager, wrote in an April 3 email to Speciale, that “the price of $27,000 that Techno gave the city was for us just to assemble floats and deliver them to the job site. Techno Marine never spoke to us about the pilings or anything else to do with the project.”

The pilings and the installation apparently were not part of Hecker’s contract with Technomarine.

In addition, CRA members were asked to approve a partial payment to Hecker for assembly of the floats and dock parts.

Both proposals Speciale presented to the CRA included a $20,000 payment for assembly.

Speciale contradicted his March 13 report to the CRA that Hecker had begun assembling the parts, saying April 3 that the contractor had not begun assembly. He added that Hecker estimated it would take three weeks to finish the assembly after receiving payment.

Mayor John Chappie, a CRA member, motioned to approve the $20,000 payment to Hecker, as well as to authorize Speciale to seek another engineer’s opinion on the dock plans.

However, Chappie amended his motion after agreeing with other CRA members to authorize Speciale to seek a second opinion before paying Hecker.

The motion passed on a 6-0 vote.

CRA member Ed Chiles, a local restaurateur, was absent with excuse.

The CRA will meet to decide on the proposals at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 10, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

3 thoughts on “Bradenton Beach confronted by rising cost of floating dock

  1. michael doerr

    Am I missing something? Why don’t these municipal bodies BB and Anna Maria require Performance bonds on these public works projects.? These bonds are to guarantee performance and would have saved the city a lot of time, money and grief. Don’t the city attorneys and engineers recommend them to the cities?

  2. Jerry6

    Thats what you get when you have the Chief of Police in charge of construction. Not knocking him, i just wouldnt put a construction professional in charge of the Police either?

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