US Army Corps, Manatee anticipate February start date for next phase of Wares Creek project

nwilliams@bradenton.comDecember 2, 2012 

BRADENTON -- The third phase of the Cedar Hammock-Wares Creek flood control project is expected to begin as soon as February, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials say.

The $51.8 million project was designed to reduce flooding along Bradenton's Wares Creek neighborhood. The Corps of Engineers' contractors finished dredging 37,000 cubic yards of material from the flood-prone creek in early August and the next phase, designated Phase III A, will consist of channel widening and retaining wall construction.

During that phase, the creek channel will be widened to about 25 feet and made about 1 foot deeper from 21st Avenue West to 30th Avenue West.

"By widening the canal, it increases the capacity for flood control," said Amanda Ellison, public affairs specialist with Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District.

Ellison said the district plans to announce a contractor for the canal widening phase in January, with work slated to start in February. Ellison would not disclose the finalists for the bid.

The estimated cost for this phase is between $10 million and $25 million, according to Corps documents.

The phase work also will include dewatering, storm drainage modifications, and demolition of existing structures. Manatee County acquired 97 parcels, somepartial and whole, as well as easement properties, to be demolished or removed

for the project.

"Many properties had to be purchased, some older homes, and demolished along the edge so the creek could be pushed out," said Nick Azzara, Manatee County spokesman.

Manatee County andthe city of Bradentonagreed to maintain thecreek after the overall project is completed, which called for storm drainage modifications, Azzara said.

"Rather than filth coming back, the county would maintain dredging work to keep the creek free of drift," he said.

Once the Corps awards the construction bid, apublic hearing will bescheduled prior to construction to give residents an opportunity to ask questions.

The canal widening phase is expected to be completed within 325 days after the Corps issues a notice to proceed.

The replacement ofthe Ninth Avenue West bridge near Ballard Elementary School, designed to facilitate the flow ofthe creek, is nearly complete and bid proposals for the replacement of the 12th Avenue and 14th Avenue bridges have been issued, according to Claude Tankersley, the city of Bradenton public works director.

Bradenton also purchased eight parcels of property in the Wares Creek neighborhood for future development.

Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams.

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