Pinellas County officials say repairs to the Park Boulevard bridge will start no sooner than Aug. 1, possibly later.
INDIAN SHORES – Plans to close the Park Boulevard Bridge for needed repairs have been moved back a minimum of two months.
The estimated $800,000 job was originally scheduled to begin June 1 and last about 30 days. The latest target date to begin is Aug. 1, at the earliest, according to Pinellas County engineer Thomas Menke, who is the project manager.
Menke said last week the project has yet to be advertised and a contractor selected.
“There are some things in the contracting process we can’t control,” Menke said. “We’re still working with the contract. We’re doing our best to accelerate it but it’s difficult to write a contract of this magnitude.”
Menke said he hopes to have the contract language finalized by early May and then advertise the job on the purchasing page of the county’s website. The bidding process will take another 30 days and then the cost must be approved by the County Commission.
“It’s really hard to pinpoint the start date,” Menke said. “It takes time for them (contractors) to get insurance too.”
County officials announced plans for the bridge closure in late October.
Speaking before the Barrier Islands Governmental Council, Menke explained the bridge’s primary reducer, or gearbox, which lifts the bridge, needs to be replaced and probably the secondary reducer, which is leaking oil, would be replaced as well.
A failure of the primary reducer last May prompted the county to move forward with the upgrades. Plans are to replace the reducers, motor brakes and adjust the air buffer mechanisms of the bridge mechanics, according to information from the county.
Alternative routes during the construction will be the Indian Rocks Causeway and the Tom Stuart Causeway bridges.
The Park Boulevard bridge was built in 1979, connecting Park Boulevard with the barrier islands.