TREASURE ISLAND — An effort to put the utility lines along Gulf Boulevard underground is moving ahead.
Officials with Duke Energy, Bright House and Verizon met recently with city consultants to discuss the requirements of the project and come up with estimated costs.
Jerry Dabkowski of Michael Baker Corp. of Tampa has been hired by the city to do the preliminary organization. He told city commissioners that the consensus opinion is that the project should be split into three sections — south, middle and north Gulf Boulevard.
The south end of the program, from 99th Avenue to 104th Avenue, would be the most complicated, with 81 utility poles, Dabkowski said. Most utilities are already underground in the middle section, from 104th Avenue to 118th Avenue, with only four above-ground poles. The northern section, from 118th Avenue to 125th Avenue, has 17 poles and is the area city officials is considering doing first.
"The northern section makes the most sense at this time," Dabkowski said. "It is easier to do less and there would be less disruptions."
City officials need to decide which method it wants to use in moving cable TV and electrical lines underground, he said. One is open trenches, which is cheaper but causes more disruptions, and the other is directional bore, which is more expensive but less intrusive.
Duke Energy, which would do the relocation, is expected to come up with binding cost estimates to present to the city by Thanksgiving.
Treasure Island has received $3.7 million from Pinellas County to improve its section of Gulf Boulevard. Other beach communities receiving money and considering relocating overhead lines underground are St. Pete Beach and Redington Beach.
The city will need to negotiate with business and property owners for needed easements to complete the project.
"They'll have to meet with property owners individually," Dabkowski said.
The state Department of Transportation is planning to resurface two sections of Gulf Boulevard. Work on the southern section, from 99th to 105th avenues, is expected to begin the summer of 2015 at a cost of $875,000. The northern section, from 105th to 125th avenues, is expected to begin January 2015 at a cost of $1.6 million, according to Brian Shroyer, DOT project manager.