MADEIRA BEACH — Frequent flooding on residential streets may become a thing of the past as the city moves to repair and improve its stormwater system.
At the same time, the city is moving ahead on street paving projects and repair of the groin system that has protected the city's beaches for years.
These projects are just some of the many improvements the city embarked on, beginning several years ago, in an effort to upgrade the city's infrastructure and modernize its buildings.
One project virtually completed involved repairing and replacing a number of city-owned seawalls.
"They really look great," said Mayor Travis Palladeno. "A number were getting close to blowing out."
Last week, the commission approved repairs to the final two seawalls.
"This is the first project we can put in our pockets as done," said City Manager Shane Crawford.
The next major projects on the commission's list address the city's aging stormwater system and groins that protect the beaches.
More than a half-million dollars was taken last week from the capital improvement budget to pay for engineering and other work on a variety of city projects.
Crawford said engineers from Deuel and Associates have identified the Crystal Isle and Boca Ciega avenue and drive areas as the most in need of stormwater system repairs.
Some areas of the city flood regularly, with water filling the streets and even lapping up to residential garages and front doors.
A program to remove barnacles and videotape the interior of the aging stormwater pipes already has identified several that are severely damaged and blocked.
Other pipes are too small and will have to be replaced.
An initial survey in the spring showed that about 80 percent of the city's outfall pipes were clogged, some seriously.
Fixing storm drains throughout the city could cost up to $20 million, according to current estimates.
Engineer Al Carrier told the commission he is trying to get matching funding from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, since the project qualifies under water treatment guidelines.
"We had two collapsed pipes on Boca Ciega Drive and we will find more," said Crawford. "It is a big part of why the drainage system is not working."
The engineering firm will develop a comprehensive report for stormwater outfalls primarily in the Crystal Isle area, detailing the level of repair or replacement needed, as well as projected costs.
A subsequent program encompassing Boca Ciega Avenue, Boca Ciega, Normandy and Flamingo drives and Johns Pass will be done after the Crystal Isle project.
"You are going to make a lot of people happy out there," said Commissioner Nancy Hodges.