The dredge california takes sand from the dark
rectangular area in this photo
and pumps it up onto Anna Maria Island’s beaches.
BRADENTON BEACH – Somewhere near 15th Street South, the federally funded renourishment project is expected to end and a new project to recoat Coquina and Cortez public beaches will begin.
Because of last-minute talks with contractor Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, that changeover is expected to be more or less seamless.
Manatee County Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker and Coastal Planning and Engineering Senior Vice President Rick Spadoni participated in negotiations since Great Lakes warned it might leave the area for another job and might not return. Great Lakes and the few remaining other contractors who do renourishments have been busy along the east coast thanks to Tropical Storm Debby and Hurricane Sandy, which produced winds and waves that scoured the beaches leaving them low on sand in many areas.
The first phase of the renourishment project this year is financed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and directed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The second phase will be financed by Florida and Manatee County. The county funds come from the bed tax driven by tourism.
Hunsicker and Spadoni addressed the Manatee Board of County Commissioners the day after the talks. Spadoni told the commissioners the county will save up to several million dollars on mobilization if Great Lakes stays to finish the entire job.
There had been some criticism of the fact that the second leg of the job did not go through the regular bid process, and Hunsicker said there was no assurance that Great Lakes would get the bid, and if they didn’t, the county would have to pay mobilization expenses to get another contractor in.
The cost for keeping Great Lakes appears to be expensive. The second leg was expected to cost $3 million, but that cost has gone up to $5.1 million. Great Lakes will have 75 days to finish the job and should be done way before then, as long as the weather is good, according to Hunsicker.
After explaining the situation to the county commission, Commissioner Carol Whitmore moved to approve the money to finish the job. Commissioner John Chappie seconded the motion, and the commission voted unanimously for it.