The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today that it has negotiated a contract for the dredging of Wares Creek, and that construction could start by late June.
The total bid amount and the winning contractor have not yet been announced.
Army Corps Project Manager Emilio Gonzalez said the bid was awarded under a Small Business Administration program intended to provide assistance to economically and/or socially disadvantaged business owners, according to a news release from Manatee County government.
“We’ve been trying to do this for years and we were finally able to successfully negotiate the contract,” Gonzalez said in the release. “You’ll see things happening and equipment mobilizing by the end of June. There are a lot of things that have to be done upfront, but this is very exciting.”
Gonzalez said the contract will be awarded on the week of May 23. After that, the contractor typically gives a notice to proceed one month later. If that timetable holds true, construction could begin by the end of June or early July.
The federal government will pay for $21.2 million of the $45.5 million project. Southwest Florida Water Management District will match the $11 million Manatee County is paying. The city of Bradenton will use a state grant to reimburse Manatee County for up to $1 million.
"It is very satisfying to see that the diligence and steadfast support of the Board of County Commissioners has finally paid off in the form of a project partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers to protect property and save lives under a flood control project for all of Wares Creek,” said Charlie Hunsicker, the county's director of environmental protection.