BRADENTON BEACH – Manatee County’s sewer rehabilitation project is expected to cause traffic interruptions and parking challenges in Bradenton Beach beginning in late January.
On Dec. 15, Project Manager Alex Gonzalez sent a letter to city officials and others regarding the Bradenton Beach sewer rehabilitation project and a project-related public information meeting taking place at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Dr. N., on Thursday, Jan. 12, from 6-8 p.m.
“The purpose of the meeting is to provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about the Bradenton Beach sewer rehabilitation project on Gulf Drive, from 6th Street South to 13th Street South,” Gonzalez stated in the letter.
“There will be no formal presentation and guests are invited to stop by anytime between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. to view project boards and design plans. Project staff will also be available to answer questions and provide additional project-related information,” he said.
“This project will replace and relocate a portion of the gravity collection system in south Bradenton Beach to new locations within the public right of way. The replacement of aging sewer infrastructure will improve the resiliency of the Bradenton Beach sewer system by increasing capacity and reducing the risk of pipe failures and leaks,” the letter states.
When contacted via email on Dec. 22, Manatee County Information Outreach Manager Bill Logan said the Woodruff & Sons construction firm is expected to begin its work during the third week of January – the week after the Jan. 12 public information meeting.
“That would be the work on Gulf Drive and they expect it to last through summertime. Then they will begin work on the side streets,” Logan told The Sun.
Additional information and project updates can be found at the project-related website. According to the website, construction is expected to be completed in September 2024.
“The project includes the installation of approximately one mile of 10-inch and 8-inch gravity main along Gulf Drive South as well as 21 manholes and approximately 100 new 6-inch laterals. Lateral service connections will extend from the gravity main on Gulf Drive South down each side street from 6th Street South to 13th Street South. The project will also require road repair and restoration,” according to the website. “This project will replace and relocate a portion of the gravity collection system in south Bradenton Beach to new locations within the public right of way. The contractor is currently developing a construction schedule and procuring project materials.”
During recent city meetings, Police Chief John Cosby has expressed concerns about the traffic and parking impacts that will occur along Gulf Drive South.
At a Dec. 7 Bradenton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meeting, Cosby referenced the sewer rehabilitation project and its anticipated impacts on the Cortez Beach parking lots south of Bridge Street – which in addition to providing beach parking also provide public parking for CRA’s Old Town Tram parking shuttle service.
“They are cutting holes across Gulf Drive at every street, from 6th Street down to 13th. Because it’s gravity fed, they cannot do (underground) boring, so it’s physically cutting holes about 15 feet deep and the width of the road in order to put the pipe in,” Cosby said.
He said Gulf Drive South traffic will be diverted through the unpaved Cortez Beach parking lots which will also be used to store construction equipment and materials.
“Cortez Beach parking for the next 18 months is non-existent. And as you know, the parking is still not finished at Coquina (Beach). There’s still one more section to do at Coquina once they’re done with the middle section that is not completed yet. You’re about to lose all that parking space at Cortez Beach,” Cosby said.
“We’re looking at 18 months if everything goes perfect. When’s the last time that happened?” he added.
During the Nov. 2 CRA meeting, Cosby said he and Mayor John Chappie had already met with county staff twice to discuss the pending project.
“It is going to be a nightmare,” Cosby said of the project’s anticipated impact on traffic and parking.