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Longboat utility lines burial about to begin

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer says the actual physical act of undergrounding the island’s utilities will begin no later than the first quarter of 2019 and maybe even as soon as this December.

The next action will occur in Town Hall when the commission will vote on approving $49 million in bonds via a resolution. The bonds were voted on and approved by Longboat Key residents to pay to underground all of the utility lines throughout the island as well as bury fiber optic cable and install new street lights.

The town estimates through its project and construction administrator CDM Smith that the cost to underground the utility lines will be north of $30 million, says Harmer. That cost does not include street lights, nor the fiber optic.

The first part of the work is the FPL poles and everything above ground will come down and new wires will be buried underground.

In the neighborhoods, street lighting will be replaced by new poles in the same location where the existing lights are today. All of the lights must be replaced throughout the town because they are currently on power line poles.

The town is working with the Florida Department of Transportation to meet its requirements for lighting Gulf of Mexico Drive and will add lighting along critical areas of the main roadway through the island.

Harmer said the height of the poles on Gulf of Mexico Drive and the type of fixtures are still under review. He did say that all street lights installed will be “smart light fixtures” in that they will be able to accommodate enhanced wireless and cellular coverage by connecting to the fiber optic cable and backhauling through the network.

CDM Smith estimates the project will take three years and three months to complete and will be done prior to the end of 2022.

Harmer said that the project is within budget and to date there have been no cost overruns.

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