Another Slip in Downtown Boat Slip's Schedule
By Carl Wagenfohr
CLEARWATER - It's a good thing that there's not much demand for Clearwater's downtown boat slips. The scheduled opening date has again been delayed, this time because of concerns that the installation of pilings in the northern section might impact utilities, including water and sewer, which run under the sea bottom below the planned slips.
Last October, the city's construction manager Perry Lopez estimated that the construction project would be substantially complete by the end of February, and that tenants would be able to move their boats in during the first or second week of March. The project was originally scheduled to complete in the Fall of 2009.
City Engineer Mike Quillen explained that the latest schedule slip arose from concerns that the precise location of under water utility lines might not be known, and the city was not confident that piling installations would not penetrate them. Recently, a construction project in Dunedin interrupted the supply of water to residents of Honeymoon Island, a costly mistake that Clearwater did not want to duplicate.
Divers recently verified the location of the shallower utility lines, but efforts to locate the deeper facilities have taken more time. On Monday, the city met with the dock contractor, Meisner Marine, and identified the location of the utility lines in question; "We know where they are now," said Quillen.
Five pilings were discovered to come near the deep utility lines according to Quillen, but simply shortening those by 5 feet would keep the pilings out of the 10 foot comfort zone surrounding the water, reclaimed water, sewer, gas and Brighthouse submerged lines that run under the dock location.
According to Quillen, Meisner and their design subcontractor Shoremaster are now finalizing the required piling lengths, but have not yet requested an extension on the completion date of the project.
The opening date of the slips tentatively remains at April 23, but Quillen said, "I'm pretty confident that's going to change, but we don't have a replacement date yet."
The 128-slip facility has only 31 committed tenants at this time. Those who were in immediate need of a slip have been accommodated at the Municipal Marina on Clearwater Beach according to Harbormaster Bill Morris.
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