Another wave of force main work set for Bradenton Beach

You’ve got to crack a few eggs to make an omelet.

In the case of Manatee County’s continuing force main replacement project, the aim is to replace Bradenton Beach’s entire 50-year-old sewer system. In the process, roadways must be barricaded and excavated despite the traffic issues that may result.

Commissioners voted 5-0 July 18 to approve Manatee County’s plans to continue a force main replacement project, which will include open-cut excavations and milling and resurfacing portions of Gulf Drive, Sixth Street South, Fifth Street South, Bay Drive South and Church Street North.

The project is phase two of the work to replace water main valves. Phase one on Gulf Drive and Avenue C was completed earlier this year.

City engineer Lynn Burnett said the county originally planned to replace the city’s sewer system over the course of 10 years but compressed the timeline to three-five years after finding infrastructure in worse shape than assumed.

City engineer Lynn Burnett said the county awaits permits, but otherwise is ready to begin work. Permits could take 30-60 days to grant. She said the work would take Tampa-based Harris-McBurney Co. 270 days to complete.

However, Burnett added that plans may need to be adjusted, if, when excavations are made, they encounter unexpected problems.

Mayor John Chappie said the county must finish the work before the 2020 spring tourist season to avoid impacting traffic and commerce during the city’s busiest months of the year.

Chappie also said pumps used to dewater the roadway excavations would be loud, and suggested changing construction hours from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. to 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

“I wouldn’t want them working outside my house at seven in the morning,” Vice Mayor Jake Spooner said.

City attorney Ricinda Perry said the county should notify property owners that would be impacted by the project with mail, detailing dates and hours of operation, as well as how residents can contact the county with concerns.

Spooner’s motion, which was seconded by Commissioner Marilyn Maro, stipulated the county finish work by the next tourist season, notify property owners and limit work hours to 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Chappie also suggested the county block off a section of Cortez Beach parking — which is maintained by the county — to use as a staging area for the contractor during its work on Fifth Street South and Sixth Street South.

Burnett said she would speak to county officials about the mayor’s suggestion.