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Commission delays north end resolutions
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TREASURE ISLAND – City commissioners tabled a pair of resolutions April 15 relating to the undergrounding of utilities and new street lights on the north end of Gulf Boulevard.

Both resolutions were for appropriations to consultant Michael Baker Jr. for engineering and design work totaling $222,255.

Both proposals were delayed to May 6 at the request of Commissioner Alan Bildz until the city can get a cost estimate for undergrounding of electrical utilities from Duke Energy on the south end of Gulf Boulevard from 105th Avenue to Blind Pass Road.

“My problem is we’re still waiting on the information for the south side of Gulf Boulevard, the 99th to 104th (Avenue) portion,” said Bildz. “Since we haven’t gotten the (BIG-C) approval yet, I don’t see the rush.”

The city has a total of $3.77 million available through Penny for Pinellas funds allocated by the Pinellas County Commission for Gulf Boulevard beautification. The Barrier Islands Governmental Council has the power to approve or turn down all proposed projects.

About $2 million of the total would be necessary for undergrounding electrical lines from 119th to 127th Avenue.

Of that figure, $1.16 million would go to Duke to remove the current power lines and poles on Gulf Boulevard and replace lines underground along an alley between Gulf Boulevard and Lagoon Lane. The remainder of the cost would be for the construction of a new outfall drain at 127th, along with repairs to existing sidewalks, storm drains, ADA ramps and driveways caused by the removal of the power poles.

Verizon and Bright House have their lines buried in the area and have signed off on the project.

That would leave about $1.77 million from the original amount for the installation of new lighting along Gulf Boulevard as far south as possible.

City Manager Reid Silverboard said Duke’s binding estimate of $1.16 million is good through May 24.

“That’s why there’s a time element involved,” Silverboard said. “I don’t have a problem if you want to wait for this (south side) information (from Duke). I’m just telling you you’re not going to have the total cost.”

Jerry Jabkowksi, vice president and director of local government services for Michael Baker Jr., agreed.

“On the south end, Verizon is all over the place,” Jabkowski said. “Bright House says they’re all over the place, on both sides of Gulf Boulevard overhead. We don’t have any price on them. It could be in the millions.

Jabkowski also said there’s the cost of easement acquisition because the Florida Department of Transportation won’t allow the utilities to go into its right-of-way under the roadway.

“We’ll have to go on private property,” Jabkowski said. “Can it be done? Absolutely. Will it take three times longer? Absolutely. I can’t even imagine guessing what it would cost. Duke Energy told me to make sure you’re wearing your seatbelt for the south end (cost).”

The city was scheduled to get a cost earlier this week from Duke on the south end and then reconsider the two resolutions on May 6.

The city wants to complete the undergrounding of the north end in conjunction with FDOT’s plan to resurface Gulf Boulevard.

FDOT, Duke and the city plan to begin all of their associated work in January.
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