HOLMES BEACH – The 57 stone that Westra Construction is placing in Holmes Beach rights of way is not the same white, jagged lime rock previously used Island-wide for city-initiated drainage projects.
Instead, the construction firm Manatee County contracted for its force main replacement project is using a recycled concrete aggregate 57 stone that is darker in color and more resembles rounded river rock.
It’s likely that the same concrete aggregate will be installed along Avenue C and elsewhere in Bradenton Beach as Westra’s work proceeds along Gulf Drive toward Cortez Road.
Holmes Beach resident Dan Anderson lives in the Palm Gables condominium complex on Fourth Avenue, between 36th Street and Gulf Drive. As the result of Westra’s recently-completed work, both rights of way along that section of Fourth Avenue are now topped with concrete aggregate stones. Anderson does not like the changes made to Palm Gables’ eastern boundary.
“I’ve owned here for several years. I know they’re doing things to improve the drainage, but I’m very disappointed with the removal of what was a beautiful grass lawn on both sides of where we’re standing. And our paver driveway that went out to the asphalt, now we have this stone, which frankly is not attractive at all. It diminishes the appearance of the property, and I think it diminishes the appearance of the town,” he said.
Anderson said he was not notified of the work in advance.
“I knew nothing about it. I’ve asked our property manager and he didn’t seem to know all that much either. I got no formal notification. I assumed they were going to put the pavers back and restore the grass lawn, but it doesn’t appear that’s happening,” he said.
The removed pavers are stacked on pallets and sitting around the corner in the grassy area along 36th Street.
Not set in stone
Lynn Burnett is the city engineer for all three Island cities. When asked about the new stones placed along Fourth Avenue, she said 57 stone pertains to the size of the stone, not the type of stone; and unless specified by the client, it’s up to the contractor to determine which type of stone is used.
“Every contractor has their different vendors and suppliers, and some of them have their own machines and make their own product. Typically, they take recycled concrete materials – sidewalks and things like that – and run it through a machine that grinds it down to that stone size.
“It depends on who makes it and what their source of material is as to what color it comes out. It’s commercial grade 57 stone as defined by FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation). It meets the required specifications,” she said.
Burnett said the concrete aggregate will not produce the white dust that lime rock does.
She then mentioned complaints received when non-lime rock materials were originally used for the vertical infiltration drainage trenches installed in Anna Maria a few years ago.
“When Woodruff & Sons started, they had a huge amount of recycled concrete they were using, but the Anna Maria folks didn’t like it because it was darker. They wanted the white stones instead, so we changed the specs. We said Woodruff could use the other stuff below, but we wanted the white lime rock on top.”
Burnett also explained why the rights of way being disturbed by Westra are not being fully restored.
“They’re restoring with just the 57 stone because in October and November we’re coming right back in and doing drainage projects behind it. It didn’t make sense to put people’s driveways down just to have them taken out again. Eventually they’ll be allowed to put their driveways back in, but we have to finish the capital improvements first,” she said.
Those city-initiated drainage projects will take place in Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach. Burnett said it has not yet been determined whether the Westra-installed concrete aggregate or newly-installed lime rock will serve as the surface materials for the cities’ drainage projects. She said the concrete aggregate would be used either for surface or subsurface purposes.