County TDC OKs funds for San-Cap Road project
The Lee County Tourist Development Council has approved funding nearly the entire cost of the emergency shore protection project on Sanibel-Captiva Road near Blind Pass, while the placement of sandbags along the road as a temporary measure to curb erosion is expected to be done next week.
Today, Sanibel Natural Resources Director James Evans reported that city officials attended the TDC’s monthly meeting this morning and presented the project, along with a request for funds.
“They voted unanimously to fund the project in full – minus a few of the issues associated with the road,” he said, explaining that the TDC felt an approximately $20,000 guardrail did not qualify.
The project will include the addition of a larger, armor stone layer along an existing buried revetment and the installation of either a steel sheet pile wall or Truline system with a concrete cap, along with the creation of a soft shoreline through sand placement and dune restoration with new vegetation and plantings.
The total cost is an estimated $1.4 million, which includes $38,450 in emergency funding that the Sanibel City Council approved in December for temporary protective measures – vegetation removal, site preparation and the placement of sandbags – after staff provided a status update on the erosion.
“They (the TDC) felt that it was a good use of tourism tax dollars,” Evans said of the nearly $1.4 million in approved funding. “Because of the extensive benefits that this area provides to tourism and to Sanibel and Captiva, and to local businesses and the tourism-based economy.”
“This is a partnership project with Lee County, and Captiva, because it relates to how we manage Blind Pass,” he added. “We are extremely appreciative of the partnership that we have with Lee County and to the TDC for approving this funding.”
Also today, Evans reported that the tides are expected to be favorable in the beginning of next week. As a result, the city’s contractor anticipates finishing the site prep for the temporary measures on Jan. 13 and starting the sandbag placement. The placement is expected to be finished on Jan. 14.
In approving the emergency funding in December for the temporary protective measures, the city council had to declare a state of local emergency and authorize action to be taken. Two rows of one-ton sandbags will be put in the most vulnerable areas along the road, with one row in additional spots.
“These are not small sandbags,” he said. “These are one-ton sandbags.”
As for the permanent project, Evans also reported today that it is out to bid.
“We put the permanent project out to bid on Jan. 7,” he said. “The bids needs to be back by the 30th of January, so it’s kind of a quick turnaround.”
Coastal engineering firm Humiston & Moore Engineers received approved from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on its design plan using two different methodologies for the project – metal sheet pile wall and Truline wall system – which the city bid out both ways.
In doing so, it has some flexibility in its decision and can compare cost-benefit.
A new innovation in seawall, bulkhead and retaining wall construction, the Truline system combines steel, concrete and vinyl materials into one wall system. According to its Website, the wall is protected long-term by the dual-interlocking vinyl form, which encases or protects the concrete and steel rebar.
The quick turnaround is so the city council can pick a bid at its Feb. 4 meeting.
“It’s scheduled for bid selection,” Evans said of the project and upcoming meeting. “With that in mind, we’ll select a contractor, complete the contract documents. We’ll finalize the bonds and everything.”
Work on the project could then begin in the first week in March.
“With an expected completion date of the end of April,” he said, noting that the goal is to finish before sea turtle nesting season kicks off in May. “So we plan to have all the work completed by May 1.”
“We’re moving forward as quickly as we can,” Evans added.