New engineering firm to submit lift station plan

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Engineers will present a solution to city commissioners to get Lift Station 87 back on track during Tuesday night’s city commission meeting.

The new engineering firm, McKim & Creed, Inc., was hired to get the lift station back on track and will present their plan to commissioners.

"We will be recommending a micro tunnel under the Hudson Bridge," says Robert Garland, project manager for the firm. He tells ABC 7 that they will install sewer pipes underneath Hudson Bayou. The original engineers, who were fired by the city when they could not complete the job, also tried to tunnel under the bayou.

"What we will be doing is using some different micro-tunneling techniques. We will be recommending a different type of pipe material to make it successful this time," says Garland.

Neighbors who live near Lukewood Park off Mound Street, where construction of the lift station has been underway for the last five years, are glad the project will once again be moving forward.

Donna Gannon lives next to the park and says McKim & Creed Inc. have done a great job making the construction site presentable. "Before the fencing that was around the facility was all the way out to the edge of the sidewalk here. There were enormous five-foot-wide pipes that were stacked here, there was machinery and the park was a mess with dug up areas."

Garland says they are committed to keeping residents informed about Lift Station 87’s progress. "We feel their frustration. This has been an impact for them over the last several years, and we are going to continue to work with them through Phase 2 and through construction of this project."

David Coe appreciates the openness of the firm. "They seem very professional and very up front and their communications are good, so we are hopeful. That is all we can be at the moment."

Garland says they will continue working with residents but warns it will become an active construction site when they have the go ahead from city commissioners.

Because the area is one of the main gateways into Sarasota, Coe and his neighbors have requested that the city install screens with printed pictures to replace this worn and tattered green material that surrounds the construction project.

Garland says they have made the commitment to neighbors out there that they will be finished by December 2015.