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Flood relief project for Tarpon Woods
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Photo by BOB McCLURE
Don Ewing, president of the Council of North County Neighborhoods, points to planned areas of construction during an information meeting by Pinellas County officials Feb. 28 at East Lake United Methodist Church.
PALM HARBOR – At times, storm water runoff has reached depths up to 24 inches and certain areas of Tarpon Woods Boulevard have taken on the look of river rapids.

But Pinellas County officials believe a $1.75 million drainage outfall project along Tarpon Woods Boulevard and adjacent streets will provide a great deal of relief.

The eight-month project is designed to do what Brooker Creek has been unable to do – drain heavy rainwater from the Tarpon Woods Golf Club, divert it into Brooker Creek and ultimately into Lake Tarpon.

“This project will create a secondary outfall,” said Nancy McKibben, the county’s project manager for the design element. “With this, we’ve created an additional outfall system (Brooker Creek is the primary outfall) that operates like a bypass. When the water reaches a certain level, it will drain (through the new drainage system) into Brooker Creek (at Tarpon Woods Boulevard).”

Initial work will begin in mid-April with a water main adjustment at Tarpon Woods Boulevard and Bratti Court. The project is scheduled for completion on Nov. 1.

In between, there will be road closures and detours to allow for the work. The following streets will be impacted:

• Tarpon Woods Boulevard between Brooker Creek and Patti Place, May 21 to Aug. 5.

• Toniwood Lane from Tarpon Woods Boulevard to the northeast intersection with Jennifer Terrace, July 2 to Aug. 26.

• Patti Place between Tarpon Woods Boulevard and Brian Road, Aug. 6 to Sept. 16.

• Brian Road from Patti Place to about 200 feet west of Tarpon Woods Boulevard, Aug. 27 to Oct. 7.

Paving will follow from Oct. 8 to Oct. 21.

The project will include the installation of pipe up to 30 inches in diameter along the route.

When complete, the new system will connect with existing drainage pipes on Toniwood Lane, providing a downhill flow toward Brooker Creek at Tarpon Woods Boulevard.

“We’ve been working with the county to get this since 2007,” said Don Ewing, president of the Council of North County Neighborhoods. “From then to now it’s taken a lot of wrangling to get this done.”

Ewing estimated 800 homes would be affected either directly or indirectly and about 120 homes would be impacted directly.

“This is a very simple project other than traffic and getting people in and out,” said Tom Woodward, the project manager for Nelson Construction Co., the company handling the project. “We’ll be going up and down neighborhood streets. Unfortunately, there’s no way you can do this without impacting traffic.”

It is expected that Tarpon Woods Boulevard will be closed completely for periods between Brooker Creek and Patti Place, forcing residents to use Tarpon Woods Boulevard east to Ridgemoor Boulevard to exit the community.

County officials said when road restrictions are necessary, the contractor will notify affected homeowners at least three days in advance and stand ready to implement unimpeded access of emergency vehicles, if necessary.

If there are blockages of individual driveways, the contractor will coordinate alternatives with the homeowners.

The project is overseen by the Pinellas County Department of Environment and Infrastructure.

The cost is being shared evenly between the county and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

County funding comes from the Penny for Pinellas sales tax.
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