Driveway restoration discussed

Bradenton Beach driveway disturbed
Portions of several driveways along Avenue C have been or will be torn up by Westra Construction as county sewer and water lines are installed in city rights of way. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

BRADENTON BEACH – Commissioner Jake Spooner initiated a follow-up discussion on driveway restoration during last week’s City Commission meeting.

Portions of several driveways along Avenue C have been or will be torn up by Westra Construction as county sewer and water lines are installed in city rights of way.

At the commission’s Feb. 6 work meeting, it was learned that Westra is only obligated to replace driveway materials removed from city rights of way with 57 stone – the same material to be used by the city when stormwater infiltration trenches are installed along Avenue C and other locations later this year. Westra is not required to replace pavers, concrete, asphalt, shell or gravel removed from city rights of way.

The restoration conditions were established in a letter drafted by Burnett and sent to the county’s project manager in June.

“It’s definitely too late to make the county do it,” Mayor John Chappie said, when discussing the complete restoration of impacted driveways at the Feb. 15 commission meeting.

When seeking the commission’s approval to write the restoration letter, Burnett told the commission the disturbed rights of way would be restored consistent with the current adopted land development code and city standard details, but 57 stone was not specifically mentioned.

Chappie referenced a conversation he recently had with Building Official Steve Gilbert regarding the right of way use permit then issued to Westra.

“It’s my understanding there are no standards for driveways in our land development regulations,” Chappie said.

Cost estimate questioned

Spooner said he didn’t think the driveway restorations would cost nearly as much as the $580,000 worst-case scenario Burnett suggested at the work meeting.

“I think that figure was a little off,” he said.

“I think it was way off,” Chappie added.

Spooner said he thought Burnett’s estimate of 100 driveways along Avenue C was also high.

He said most of the Avenue C driveways are covered with shell, gravel or pavers, and Westra is setting removed pavers aside, which means they could be put back in place without buying new ones.

Spooner also noted pavers, asphalt and other driveway materials could be placed atop the 57 stone without significantly impacting its subsurface drainage capabilities.

Chappie said Gilbert estimated the restoration efforts, if pursued, might typically cost $400 per driveway.

Commissioner Ralph Cole said he drove down Avenue C and didn’t see that many torn up driveways. He agreed that removed pavers, stones or shell could be easily replaced or restored.

Cole asked if it’s common for a county project to not require the full restoration of disturbed driveways.

“It depends on how they bid the job. It’s an extra cost for the contractor,” Chappie said.

Spooner said Westra is using directional underground boring equipment to install its lines, which could result in fewer driveways being torn up.

“But we’re going to have other areas on other streets where we’re doing stormwater stuff. There still some more work to do. Are we going to replace the driveway areas in the city right of way and put them back to the way they originally were? We have to look at the money and see where it could come from,” Chappie said.

Chappie received commission consensus to direct city staff to begin photographing potentially impacted driveways and he said he would will schedule another commission work meeting.

A ride down Avenue C after Thursday’s meeting indicated 35 shell driveways, 23 paver driveways, eight concrete driveways, six asphalt driveways, one rock driveway, one grass driveway and one concrete sidewalk in the city rights of way.

The largest asphalt driveways are the parking lots at the Lay-Z Liv-N condominiums. A Westra employee said the parking lot and palm trees in the right of way on the west side of the street would likely be impacted.