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Pinellas County adds to two infrastructure improvement funds

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

A pair of improvement projects of Pinellas County’s Department of Engineering and Technical Support  — one for the Pinellas Trail and the other for stormwater pipe fixes — just got a nice financial boost.

County commissioners, at their first regular meeting of September, approved a change order to a contract with Layne Inliner, LLC for stormwater pipeline repairs throughout unincorporated Pinellas. The adjustment adds an extra $468,000 to the county’s approved expenditure amount for the project, which now rings in at over $1.8 million.

The newly allotted funds will pay for the project’s “regularly scheduled work,” as $468,000 had previously been taken from this funding channel and put toward improving the county’s South Cross Bayou Wastewater Treatment Plant, a water reclamation facility in St. Petersburg designed to treat an average of 33 million gallons of water per day, according to the county.

The plant needed renovations to some deteriorating storm pipes in order to be brought up to par with the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s permitting and maintenance compliance requirements. All storm pipes within the wastewater treatment plant, after being rehabilitated, now have an expected future life of 30 years.

The nearly half-a-million-dollar side project, as the county contends, was within the scope of the initial stormwater pipeline repair agreement. It just wasn’t anticipated at the time of the bid award.

Funding for unincorporated Pinellas’ stormwater pipeline repairs comes from the county’s infrastructure sales tax, better known as Penny for Pinellas.

Another nearly half-a-million-dollar change order, also approved by the County Commission this month, was added to a contract with Suncoast Development of Pinellas County, and QRC Inc. — two large-scale construction companies — for the timely completion of the Pinellas Trail shouldering project.

The change order allots $450,000 more in funding to the project, all of which goes to QRC to “substantially complete” the project by December 31, 2015 — which guarantees that the construction efforts meet all grant funding requirements.

The arrangement in the contract, back in November of 2013, has Suncoast Development as the primary contractor, taking on as much of the trail shouldering workload as possible, while QRC sits on the sidelines — think relief pitcher in baseball — waiting to be called up to the big leagues for some work.

This will be the second time the county utilized QRC’s services throughout the course of this project. Commissioners approved the first back in August of this year. It was for help completing a portion of the project by September 30.

The county is undertaking the project to meet annual requirements for replacement and/or repair of sidewalk, A.D.A., drainage, roadway and related infrastructure improvements throughout the county. Its total cost, after the nearly half-a-million-dollar change order, now comes in at over $7.7 million.

Like the stormwater pipeline repair project, funding for the Pinellas Trail shouldering project comes from Penny for Pinellas.

Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for SaintPetersblog.com, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for FloridaBarTab.com. He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail [email protected], or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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