Pine Avenue sidewalk plans remain under review

Pine Avenue sidewalk plans still under review
Pine Avenue currently lacks sidewalks in some areas. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy has an update for the city commission on the Reimagining Pine Avenue project.

On Oct. 27, Murphy said the city’s plans to install brick paver sidewalks along both sides of Pine Avenue have been evaluated by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). FDOT is overseeing the city’s anticipated use of a $1.28 state appropriation secured earlier this year to help fund the Pine Avenue safety improvements.

Murphy said FDOT won’t allow state funds to be used to install new streetlights unless the new lights meet FDOT’s standards that require 32-foot-tall light poles – a height that significantly exceeds the mayor and commission’s desires for the Pine Avenue lighting. FDOT also expressed concerns about the width of the street and the city’s sidewalk plans not including curbs and additional rights of way acquisition.

City officials hope to stick with the conceptual plans the commission approved earlier this year. Project engineer Gerry Traverso has prepared a follow-up report that further explains the city’s plans and hopefully addresses FDOT’s concerns.

Murphy anticipates FDOT responding to Traverso’s report in December. When FDOT approves the plans, the city and the state agency will enter into an interlocal agreement that allows the city’s use of the state funds. City leaders will then have two years to complete any portions of the project to be paid for using the state appropriation.

After the interlocal agreement is reached, a new request for proposals will be issued for the third time seeking a contractor to install the brick paver sidewalks. Commissioner Robert Kingan noted most recent lone proposal submitted by the C-Squared construction firm earlier this year was considered by FDOT to be twice as expensive as it should have been.

Murphy expects to select a commission-approved contractor in March. He expressed hope that construction costs may be lower at that time due to the current state of the economy lessening the demand for companies that install brick pavers.

Murphy anticipates the construction of the new sidewalks to begin in April.