Five aging Island Estates bridges slated for repair

CLEARWATER – The city council is expected to approve by consent agenda tonight a routine maintenance contract with Biltmore Construction Co. Inc., to rehabilitate five out of nine bridges on Island Estates at a cost of $173,143.
Residential streets on the island west of downtown include nine bridges that are approaching 50 years old, Scott Rice, the city's assistant director of engineering, told the council during its work session Monday.
The scope of the work is based on an inspection conducted earlier this year.
“Five bridges are in relatively good condition,” said Rice. “The repair work will minimize the potential for further deterioration and water intrusion. We're just trying to extend their useful life.”
Two of the five bridges in need of repair are located on Island Way between the intersection of Palm Island and Harbor Passage. The remaining three are on Windward Passage, east of Island Way.
The rehabilitation will include the replacement of deteriorating expansion joints designed to absorb heat-induced expansion and contraction of construction materials; repairs to the concrete beams and abutments; and repaving of the concrete deck.
Work is expected to begin sometime this fall and be completed within 150 days. 
Rice also told the city council that had the bridges required complete replacement, the cost would be as much as $300,000 per bridge.
All nine bridges on Island Estates are inspected every two years, according to Rice.
The inspection report released earlier this year also indicated that the other four bridges on the island have experienced significant deterioration and will need to be completely replaced. Two bridges are located on Island Way between Skiff Point and Palm Island Southeast, and two are on Harbor Passage between Island Way and Harbor Island.
The proposed four bridge replacement project is in the design phase, Rice said, and the first preliminary cost estimate approached $1.3 million. Construction to replace these bridges is expected to begin in 2014.
According to city reports, all nine bridges were constructed in 1965 and were made of reinforced concrete. Their life expectancy is estimated to be 40 to 60 years.
The city council meets tonight at 6 in its chambers in city hall, 112 S. Osceola Ave. Citizens may address agenda items, or they may speak at the beginning of the meeting on items not on the agenda.
The council's consent agenda is composed of noncontroversial or routine matters, like the Biltmore contract, that are collectively voted on unless they're moved by request to the regular agenda for individual discussion.

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