AECOM Technical Services awarded another $104,000 for paving of North Port Legacy Trail connector

County Commission approves contract amendment for work expected to start in July

This map shows details of the two unpaved routes, plus the route that will be paved, to connect Venice to North Port. The connector that will be paved is shown by the dotted red line. Image courtesy Sarasota County

In accord with Sarasota County staff’s plans to pave the approximately 4.5 miles of connections and Legacy Trail improvements from Venice to North Port, the County Commission recently approved an additional $104,191.66 for the project.

On May 18, in conjunction with their vote on their Consent Agenda of routine business matters, the commissioners agreed to pay AECOM Technical Services Inc. the extra funds, raising the total of the contract to $1,334,807.12. The firm is handling construction engineering and inspection services for the connector, a May 18 county staff memo explained.

The money will come out of the county’s South County Park Impact Fees Construction Fund, Carolyn Eastwood, director of the county’s Capital Projects Department, told the commissioners prior to their May 18 vote.

The source of the funding inadvertently was left out of the May 18 agenda packet materials for that item, County Administrator Jonathan Lewis and Eastwood told the commissioners.

AECOM Technical Services is a subsidiary of AECOM. On its website, AECOM says, “On projects spanning transportation, buildings, water, governments, energy and the environment, we partner with our clients to build legacies for generations to come.

“We are the world’s premier infrastructure firm, delivering professional services throughout the project lifecycle,” the website adds.

The North Port Connector originally was intended to be unpaved, a May 18 staff memo explained. “The trail will now be a paved surface and a third bridge is being added further south of the North Port Connector within the Deer Prairie Creek Preserve,” the memo added.

On May 4, Nicole Rissler, director of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department, told the commissioners that the groundbreaking for the North Port connector is being planned for June 16. The route should be completed in the fall of 2022, she added.

It will offer a Legacy Trail-like experience for riders, she has pointed out. In contrast, two other routes from the Venice terminus of the existing Trail to North Port will remain unpaved, she has noted.

AECOM Technical Services is expected to begin the additional work in July, the May 18 staff memo said.

This is the timeline county staff has provided for the last projects planned to complete The Legacy Trail from North Port to downtown Sarasota — the overpasses at Clark and Bee Ridge roads in Sarasota. Image courtesy Sarasota County

The commissioners approved the original contract on July 7, 2020, the staff memo noted. At that time, the contract amount was $1,160,055.46, the memo pointed out.

Then, on Dec. 16, 2020, County Administrator Jonathan Lewis gave the go-ahead for the first amendment to the agreement with AECOM, increasing the total to $1,230,615.46, the memo said. The extra funding then was necessary for inspection services for utility work, the memo added.

On a related note: The nonprofit Friends of the Legacy Trail has reported 186,530 users of the existing Trail, from Venice to Culverhouse Nature Park on Palmer Ranch, through April. That compares to the total of 175,492 for the first four months of 2020, a chart shows.

County Administrator Lewis and commissioners have talked about the fact that publicity surrounding the North Extension projects and the North Port Connector has contributed to more people on The Legacy Trail this year.

Image courtesy of the Friends of the Legacy Trail

Friends of the Legacy Trail member Stephen Martin calculates the monthly user figures, the nonprofit’s website explains. Martin offers information on the website about how he arrives at the totals.

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