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Lindgren Blvd. box culvert may be raised, widened

By Staff | Oct 7, 2009

During Tuesday’s City Council session, councilman Jim Jennings requested that the Public Works Department look into the possibility of both raising and widening the box culvert along Lindgren Boulevard.

The issue was brought forth after the council had been requested to approve a contract between the City of Sanibel and T.Y. Lin International for replacement of the box culvert, which was originally constructed in the 1960s.

“I was hoping that we could give the residents a little more value by adding a couple of feet to it,” said Jennings, who mentioned having navigated the 12-foot high, 10-foot wide passageway by boat years ago. “I’m sure that people who use that area (for boating) would appreciate that.”

The Lindgren Boulevard box culvert, located between Periwinkle Way and East Gulf Drive, has been repaired over the years, including the refurbishment of the culvert’s wing walls. But according to a memorandum submitted by Gates Castle, Public Works Director, “the structure is approaching the end of its useful life, needing to be replaced with a new wider, deeper and, if possible, higher structure.”

On Tuesday, councilors approved an agreement with T.Y. Lin International for replacement engineering and construction services not to exceed $115,500 for the project. The city had budgeted $550,000 for the work in its FY10 annual budget.

“Our plan is to widen and raise the culvert,” said Castle, who noted the work includes structural design, traffic engineering and permitting. “Our first request is for an engineer to determine what can be allowed.”

A motion to approve the contract, made by Jennings and seconded by Mayor Mick Denham, passed unanimously.

In other business, the council accepted a Shared Use Path and Rest Area Easement from the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) for the widening of the pathway adjacent to Rabbit Road.

According to the agreement, the city will widen the existing six-foot path to eight feet, in accordance with the 2009 Shared Use Path Master Plan. Because widening of the path requires extensive loss of native vegetation along the lake banks – in order to fill the lakes sufficiently to construct a proper shoulder and slope for the path – the foundation-owned property was asked to provide the easement.

City Manager Judie Zimomra informed the council that SCCF contacted her office on Monday and requested to sign-off on the city’s final designs for the path extension.

“This path has received a significant increase in traffic by walkers and bikers since the opening of the Recreation Center,” she stated.

In addition, SCCF plans to construct a rest area near the southeast corner of the intersection of the path and the Sanibel River. The facility would be built by funds from both SCCF and the Sanibel Bicycle Club, however, it would be maintained by the city.

The council voted to accept the easement, 5-0.

Also, the council approved the cancellation of their Dec. 15 regular meeting in order to attend the State of Florida Delegation Meeting, held on the same date at Edison Community College.

Among the identified items on the city’s “Legislative Watch List” which may be discussed during the session are boat mooring and anchoring, off-shore drilling and a proposed Florida Constitutional Amendment, which could dramatically impact local government comprehensive land use plans.

Discussing the proposed off-shore drilling bill, Denham worried that “this one has substantial legs in the legislation this year.”

“I’m not too sure what the bill says and I’m not too sure what’s on the table, but I think that we have to start discussing this at the council level,” he said. “Before we can declare a position on this, I think we need to have a talk about it.”

“They seem to say (off-shore drilling) is safe,” Jennings added. “I don’t think that it’s safe enough.”