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TREASURE ISLAND — Residents in three areas of this island city face two disruptive months of roadway construction to alleviate street flooding, with the brunt of the annoyance felt by those living along West Gulf Boulevard this fall.

Public Works Director Mike Helfrich reminded city commissioners at a May 3 meeting that back in September 2019, with help of former state Sen. Jennifer Webb, the city requested $1.3 million from Florida Department of Transportation for its Curb and Roadway Improvement Project.

“They awarded us $900,000, with the remaining funds the responsibility of the city,” he said.

At the meeting, commissioners unanimously awarded a construction contract for $1.8 million, which includes a contingency of $160,000, to Preferred Materials Inc. to undertake the curb and roadway improvement project.

As part of the project, city staff decided to improve the following streets: a portion of Second Street East, north from the water tank to Key of Capri; Island Drive on Paradise Isle; and a portion of West Gulf Boulevard in Sunset Beach from Gulf Boulevard to Bayshore Drive.

In the first phase of the project, construction crews will mobilize around June 15 on Second Street East or Island Drive, Helfrich told commissioners.

He noted a major portion of West Gulf Boulevard will be improved in the October-to-November time frame. “We have stormwater collecting on the wrong side of the street. We have to get it to the bay side, so we’ll have some drainage improvements there,” he said.

The city will wait until at least October 1 to start roadway on Sunset Beach. “We want the least amount of traffic and interference on West Gulf Boulevard, and when we say that, it’s almost impossible,” the public works chief said. The city will be doing public engagement to inform people.

“It’s going to be very disruptive down there for two months, but it’s going to be in a time period of October, November, which we believe is the least amount of disruption,” he told commissioners. “Once I’ts finished they’ll be happy about it. It will be two months of a little discomfort. and then the rain puddles will cease.”

He said that portion of West Gulf Boulevard hasn’t been repaved in more than 20 years, “so it’s definitely needed.”

Helfrich told commissioners Second Street East has curbing that needs to be redone and Island Drive will see drainage improvements.

“All those roads will be milled and then paved over,” he added.

He said on Second Street, crews will be digging down 18 to 24 inches to remove he base and put in crushed concrete, so the road won’t have the “rutting” caused by high water levels and past use of limestone.

The city will provide construction updates on its webpage and Facebook page.

Walkover decking improved

City Commissioners unanimously approved a contract with Bayshore Construction for $120,000 to complete a project that will replace decking at various dune walkovers.

In July 2020, the public works department requested approval of a contract with Bayshore Construction for $300,000 to reconstruct walkovers. 

Helfrich told commissioners that reconstruction was needed because walkovers prevented the dune system itself from growing higher. As a result, walkovers were reconstructed from December 2020 to February  2021 at 100th, 120th, 123rd and 125th avenues, along with two Sunset Vista trailheads and Sunset Beach walkover No. 3. 

He explained the current project is designed to remove the decking and side rails and install new planks. 

Mayor Tyler Payne said some of the dune walkovers in Sunshine Beach were “kind of elevated and stirred up a lot of concern from residents in that area.” He told staff some felt they were too high and obstructed the view, “so you might want to be armed with the fact that (this project is) not changing the structure of them at all, just re-decking.”

City amps up social media

Treasure Island is going social media savvy, with city meetings now available for viewing live on the city’s Facebook page and soon on YouTube. Viewers can watch live or listen to a recorded video as soon as the meeting ends. Up until now meetings could only be viewed on the city’s webpage or on Zoom during the height of the Covid crisis.