By Steve Plunkett
The water main along State Road A1A north of Golfview Drive can be replaced close to its current route without endangering Gulf Stream’s signature Australian pines, engineers have decided.
Sira Prinyavivatkul, the project manager at Baxter and Woodman Consulting Engineers, told town commissioners Aug. 9 that the new pipe would not have to detour west to Gulfstream Road or Polo Drive to protect the tree canopy. “We understand that that’s a significant feature to this town, and it’s a historic, scenic highway,” he said.
The engineers coordinated with Gulf Stream’s contract arborist, Jonathan Frank of the F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Co., and determined the water main should be kept at least three times the tree diameter away from the Australian pines horizontally and 2 to 3 feet below grade.
The estimated $2.5 million project will replace 3,100 feet of old 8-inch pipe with modern 12-inch pipe on A1A to improve water flow and avoid future expensive repairs. About 2,080 feet will be buried directly; the rest will go in by directional drilling. The existing pipe, made of brittle transite, or asbestos cement, is more than 50 years old and will be abandoned and filled with grout.
Gulf Stream replaced the A1A water main south of Golfview, which also serves Place Au Soleil, in 2006.
Baxter and Woodman expects to finish final construction drawings in December and have a contractor starting the job in April.
“It should be in the off-season and hopefully minimal disturbance to residents,” Prinyavivatkul said.
Along with the A1A portion, the firm proposes 8-inch mains instead of 6-inch pipe on 375 feet of Sea Road, 1,300 feet of County Road, 250 feet back on A1A north of County Road, and 2,000 feet on Little Club Road. Prinyavivatkul said workers should finish 200 feet per day.
The town also hired Frank to trim some of the Australian pines, their first arborist care in three years. The maintenance will cost $20,000. “These are the ones that we consider need the trimming, really, now. We’ve noticed some of the limbs falling, really around the area of the golf course where there’s no homes that block the wind from the ocean,” Town Manager Greg Dunham said.
Meanwhile, Dunham reported, AT&T plans to finish its underground connections in the north end of town by December and to remove its overhead wires by the end of the year. Starting in October, Comcast customers will have to schedule an appointment to have their service transferred underground.
After both utilities have finished, Florida Power & Light will begin removing power poles. Mayor Scott Morgan predicted the last pole would be taken down in March.