MADEIRA BEACH – City commissioners gave the go-ahead to a long-awaited drainage and roadway improvement project on Rex Place in Madeira Beach, approving spending just over $900,000.
The work covers the entire road, from the intersection next to Winn-Dixie to the seawall by the Recreation Center.
The action came at a special emergency meeting on Sept. 25, called to meet a looming deadline for the project to qualify for a matching grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which will pay about half the cost.
Al Carrier of Duel and Associates, the engineering firm managing the job, said the project includes new roadway construction, new curbs and a new storm water collection system. The job’s $915,000 cost is about $65,000 more than the estimate of $850,000, Carrier said, but less than the lowest bid of $1.009 million when the job was first bid out.
City staff and Duel looked at alternative paving designs for parking lots within the Rex Place right of way, and that brought the cost down, said city Finance Director Walter Pierce.
Carrier said Rex Place was the No. 3 priority identified five years ago when the city began a long-term program to correct storm water drainage problems that have plagued the city for years. The work has been gradually completed based on the established priorities.
A portion of the culvert under the Rex Place roadway collapsed a year and a half ago, leaving a huge hole that needed a temporary fix, and the rest of the pipe is rotted, Carrier said.
“The drainage pipe needs to be fixed. It is an emergency that has to be done, and it is critical we start this right away,” Pierce said. And the city does not want to jeopardize the grant money by delaying, he added.
Construction costs also continue to go up. Consequently, the project would cost even more if it were postponed.
Commissioner John Douthirt asked where the money would come from to cover the budget shortfall, since the bid amount is $65,000 over budget.
Pierce said he will be looking at other items in the budget that can be reduced, or as a last resort the money will be taken from reserve funds. Carrier mentioned that the actual expense could come close to the budgeted amount if “contingency” funds do not need to be spent.
The commission’s approval of the funding allows work on storm water drainage and roadway reconstruction to begin immediately.