Port Manatee

Port picks top choices for berth project

PORT MANATEE -- Port officials are putting another piece in place as they ready six of its ship berths for complete replacement.

This week, the Manatee County Port Authority will approve top negotiation contenders for the geotechnical engineering and surveying services needed on the project. A port staff committee evaluated several firms for each scope of work and will present their top choices to the port authority at its monthly meeting Thursday.

Firms considered responded to a request for qualifications published by the port in November.

Ranking first on the list among geotechnical firms is Dunkelberger Engineering & Testing of West Palm Beach. As the highest-ranking firm in the qualifications analysis, Dunkelberger will be the first firm engaged to negotiate its segment of work on the berth project. If negotiations fail, the port will move onto its second choice, PSI of Oakbrook, Ill.

For the surveying work, the port will start negotiating with Bradenton firm George F. Young Inc. Its second choice is Hyatt Survey, also from Bradenton.

The port operates 13 shipping berths, three of which were rebuilt and recommissioned early this year. Ten others are as old as 50 years. The port expects to spend an estimated $42 million on those recommended for total replacement, according to documents filed with state's Department of Environmental Protection. Last month, the port chose AECOM as its first choice to negotiate an engineering contract. RS&H will be engaged to negotiate permitting documents work on the project.