Stormwater projects reevaluated

Bradenton Beach stormwater outflow
A stormwater drainage outflow in Bradenton Beach. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

BRADENTON BEACH – When discussing pending stormwater projects for Avenue C and Avenue B, city commissioners decided they want Avenue C repaved as soon as possible.

Avenue C and the driveways that connect to it have been torn up since Westra Construction began work earlier this year on that section of Manatee County’s force main replacement project.

On Thursday, July 26, the commission unanimously decided to stick with the current plan for Westra to repave Avenue C when their work is done and partially restore the impacted city rights of way with 57 stone. The city will then come through and install vertical infiltration trenches that retain rainwater and filter out waterborne pollutants and sediments.

Commissioner Ralph Cole emphasized the need to get Avenue C restored as soon as possible to end the months of disruption Avenue C residents and property owners have endured as the force main project drags on due to unforeseen delays.

Bradenton Beach stormwater Ave C
City commissioners want Avenue C repaved and restored as soon as possible. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

The commission also wants to restore, at the city’s expense, the driveway connections impacted by the county project.

After Avenue C is paved, the city will come through and install vertical infiltration trenches in the partially restored rights of way along both sides of the road. Similar to past projects, the Avenue C trenches will utilize the 57 stone as a filtration component, but unlike past projects, the 57 stone will not be the surface material. Instead, the trenches will be topped with honeycombed plastic permeable grid pavers that can be filled with sod, grass or smaller 89 stone – all of which allow rainwater to drain down into the trenches.

Designed by City Engineer Lynn Burnett, the existing drainage trenches found throughout the city are meant to be driven on and parked on, but in some heavily-used areas the lime rock 57 stone gets crushed and/or compressed. This lessens its drainage capabilities and produces a fine white dust that gets tracked onto streets and into homes and businesses.

The lime rock 57 stone has been the subject of past discussions and during last week’s meeting, Mayor John Chappie said, “No one is happy with what was approved four years ago.”

As he did at the previous stormwater meeting, Chappie said the commission is reviewing, reevaluating and rethinking the city’s one-size-fits-all approach to stormwater and drainage projects.

The commission discussed asking the county to consider not paving Avenue C and instead give the city $71,000 to put toward a road surfaced with porous concrete or pervious pavers, with the drainage elements placed under the street instead of alongside it. Chappie said this might be more aesthetically pleasing but was also the “Cadillac” option in terms of price.

The honeycomb grid has been used on a small scale at the entrance to the public parking lot on First Street North and the rear entrance to the post office.

Additional suggestions

For future projects, Cole suggested installing drainage gutters down the center of streets designed to slope inward rather than outward toward the edges of the road.

The commission also expressed interest in reopening at least one outfall pipe that once drained into the bay but was capped off or became blocked by debris, oysters and sediments.

The commission and Burnett discussed reopening the 12-inch outfall pipe at the end of Bridge Street and equipping it with a one-way WaStop check valve to prevent rising tides from flowing backward into it during high tide.

Burnett said the pipe extends into the bay and is buried under the bay bottom and any work done on state-owned submerged lands would require state permits. Burnett said it might be possible to shorten and elevate the 12-inch pipe, but that would require additional research.

FEMA grants

The commission authorized Burnett to apply for two FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program grants.

The FEMA funds are being managed by the Manatee County Local Mitigation Strategy Working Group that has already pre-approved Bradenton Beach’s funding requests.

The grant program reimburses the applicant for 75 percent of the cost of an approved flood mitigation project. The city expects to receive $337,500 for a $450,000 stormwater and drainage improvement project along Church and Highland Avenues.

The commission also authorized Burnett to apply for and expects to be reimbursed for $390,000 of a $520,000 project to harden and floodproof city hall.