Project comes in under budget and ahead of schedule
CLEARWATER BEACH — Replacement of a 60-year-old, undersized stormwater pipe system in the Mandalay Avenue watershed has been completed a few weeks early and under budget.
The cost of the floodplain improvement project was reduced from an estimated $1.6 million to $1.35 million, primarily because of lower than expected contractor bids for the work and materials, according to Tara Kivett, engineering construction manager. The project was expected to be completed by the first of the year; instead, it was finished in mid-December.
The 21 acres within the northeast business and marina districts, north of the beach roundabout to Baymont Street, was so prone to severe flooding that Southwest Florida Water Management District officials identified the project as a “high priority” in 2012.
Severe weather outbreaks like Tropical Storm Debby in June 2012 or just an intense downpour turned some streets into waterways. In some areas along Mandalay Avenue, floodwater pooled to the curb and higher, and vehicles driving by sent waves lapping against buildings and inside some businesses.
The project called for increasing the size of underground pipes along sections of East Shore Drive, Poinsettia Avenue, Papaya Street and Mandalay Avenue.
Another major component was the installation of two treatment devices at Poinsettia Avenue and East Shore Drive to filter runoff and collect pollutants before stormwater is discharged into the Mandalay channel. Previously, untreated stormwater flowed into the channel.
The $250,000 in project savings was applied toward upgrading the stormwater system at the north end of East Shore Drive from Poinsettia to Baymont streets, which wasn’t in the original project plans.
In addition, the streets immediately outside the project area that were not part of the original stormwater project will be repaved. Those areas encompass Mandalay Avenue from the beach roundabout north to Baymont Street and east on Baymont to the channel. The work is expected to begin Wednesday and finish by Feb. 14.
Most of the repaving will be done at night to minimize disruptions to traffic, according to Kivett.