BELLEAIR BEACH – A key project to control flooding in the First and Second Street and Harbor Drive neighborhood is done, City Manager Lynn Rives announced at the Jan. 7 meeting.

The job had been the city’s top capital improvement project. It included replacing pipes and putting check valves in the system to control flooding, as well as road improvements such as new street curbs and re-milling and re-paving the roadway.

The Second Street portion of the project was completed in 2017. The work on First Street began in October 2018, and is now also wrapping up, Rives said.

Part of the First Street work included putting new pipes in the park on the bay at the south end of the city. Check valves there prevent high tide water from getting back into the drainage system. Rives said paving First Street and the south part of Harbor Drive are complete.

“The entire project will be completed and the road reopened by the end of the week,” Rives said.

The area has been a highly flood-prone location, and the project’s completion is, in Rives words, “good news.”

Utility undergrounding moving along

The council took a couple of steps to move the utility undergrounding project in the Bellevue Estates Island neighborhood forward.

First was an authorization to enter into an agreement with Spectrum for the undergrounding of cable facilities.

Then the council agreed to suspend bid requirements for electrical modifications to residential property. Rives said that lets the city award the job to Yarbrough Electric, avoiding the time-consuming effort of going through the bidding process. Yarbrough has typically been the low bidder on such jobs, Rives added.

“This will help us move along the utility undergrounding project in Bellevue Estates Island by giving us a head start,” Rives said.

The project will involve “varied electrical modifications to residences that have overhead facilities and require an electrical panel upgrade.”

Rives said the city will be contacting residents that have an overhead wire to determine what they need for undergrounding.

The job should come in significantly under budget. Rives said $300,000 has been set aside for the work. The actual cost is expected to be around $200,000, and could be even lower, he said.

Rights-of-way stakes

Rights-of-way stakes being put in residents’ front yards are to mark the rights of way for the utility undergrounding, Rives said. They are not for transformer placement or such, he said. Rives urged residents not to pull up the stakes.

City to get new holiday decorations

The city’s Christmas holiday decorations along Gulf Boulevard have been used for years and need replacing, said Council Member John Pietrowski.

“We need some decorative lighting instead of flags,” Pietrowski said.

Rives agreed.

“This is the last year of the contract. I’m not happy with what we’ve got. We’ll look at other options,” he said.

The “flags” would likely be illegal in Madeira Beach, which recently banned flutter signs.

Seawall project underway

Repairs to the Belle Isle seawall have started, Rives said. He said the project is ongoing and will take about 90 days to finish.