TREASURE ISLAND – The city is awaiting binding estimates from Duke Energy on two options for moving power lines underground on the north end of Gulf Boulevard from 118th to 125th avenues in Treasure Island.
Both options involve a directional bore to switch power lines from Gulf Boulevard one block east to Lagoon Lane.
One option would be a directional bore from Gulf Boulevard east to Lagoon Lane and reconnect the power lines on poles along Lagoon Lane.
The other option would be a directional bore under Gulf Boulevard to Lagoon Lane and then put all utilities underground along Lagoon Lane.
The city is also considering a drainage relief project along Lagoon Lane from 119th to 127th avenues. The cost without Duke Energy participation is estimated at $700,000. The price with Duke providing an open cut and burying utilities is $1 million.
Those were among the highlights of a presentation Sept. 18 by Jerry Dabkowski, assistant vice president and director of government services for Michael Baker Inc., of Tampa, the city’s consultant on its undergrounding project.
The city is hoping to put utilities underground along Gulf Boulevard in conjunction with plans by the Florida Department of Transportation to resurface the roadway. The north end, from 105th Avenue northward, is scheduled for the fall of 2014 and the south end in the spring of 2015.
Treasure Island hopes to finance as much as possible through its $3.78 million share of Gulf Boulevard Beautification funds from Pinellas County.
City Manager Reid Silverboard explained that a binding estimate is good for just 90 days.
“Essentially, it’s a binding estimate but it’s only kind of binding,” he said. “They (Duke) would also have to do a construction feasibility review. So it may be a while before we know the real cost.
“In reality, we won’t have the money to do the south,” Silverboard added. “Probably we’ll be spending all the money if we do the north end.”
Dabkowski recently met with all the principle players and said the Treasure Island project is in three segments.
The south end, which stretches from 99th to 104th avenues, poses the biggest problem. The area has 81 poles and five crossings. Verizon, TECO Gas and Pinellas County Utilities are already underground. Duke and Bright House are on poles.
Duke has submitted a non-binding estimate of $735,000 to install underground conduit and feed power lines later. Bright House is hesitant.
“The agreements between Progress Energy and Bright House on joint use on poles is not in coherence,” said Dabkowski. “There has to be a new understanding between Bright House and Duke that they need to be in the same trench together. That has not been worked out yet.”
Because of that, Dabkowski said Bright House is “a little hesitant to do it right now” because the arrangement between Duke Energy and Bright House has not been clearly defined.
“If Duke puts their lines in using a directional bore, which is essentially going under the pavement and coming back up, Bright House would have to do the same for their lines,” Dabkowski said. “If Duke open cuts Gulf Boulevard, Bright House should be able to go into the same trench with Duke. It would be a huge cost savings.”
The middle section, from 104th to 118th avenues, is not a tough area to work with, Dabkowski said. Bright House and Verizon are already underground. Duke has only two poles above ground.
From 118th to 125th avenues, Duke has 17 poles, primarily on the west side of the street. Bright House and Verizon are already underground.