TREASURE ISLAND — The next two phases of the city's multiyear stormwater project will begin soon and Sunset Beach residents can expect to see road closures and detours during the next seven to eight months.
Bids are due this week on the portion of the project that includes installing stormwater pipes and structures on Bayshore Drive, 83rd Avenue and 79th Terrace and along W Gulf Boulevard.
"The goal is to significantly reduce standing water in the area during a storm event," said Justin Keller, project engineer with Advanced Engineering & Design.
Currently, stormwater in the Sunset Beach area is dumped into the Gulf of Mexico through a perforated pipe system, he said. When the project is completed, the water will be redirected eastward to the Intracoastal Waterway.
The quality of discharged water also will be improved by treating it before it is discharged using a screen system in which floating trash, debris and sediment are collected and removed, Keller said.
A contract for the fourth and fifth phase of the stormwater project is expected to be awarded May 13 and work should begin in June and finish by December, he said.
Road and lane closures are expected on Bayshore Drive, 83rd Avenue and 79th Terrace and W Gulf Boulevard.
"The city is very adamant that traffic only be impacted when absolutely necessary," Keller said. "They'll try to keep it to lane closures whenever possible. We expect the worst case scenario but work to keep it the best."
The cost of the project so far is $719,638, with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, also known as Swiftmud, paying for half.
Work began on the first phase of the construction project in 2012 and the final phase should be completed in 2017.
Making drainage improvements in the Sunset Beach area should significantly benefit residents, Mayor Robert Minning said. "Sunset Beach has one of the lowest elevations in the city," he said. "There is considerable ponding along W Gulf Boulevard."
Although residents may have to put up with road closures, Minning said the project illustrates "the greater good overcomes the short term impact."
"I think there are few people in Sunset Beach who would argue against improving drainage there," he said.