Construction of latest Orange Avenue roundabout set to begin in late November in city of Sarasota

City staff had asked about delaying the work until spring, but FDOT cautioned against that because of funding concerns

An engineering drawing shows details about where signage will be installed in the new roundabout. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

With no comment this week, the Sarasota City Commission approved an $875,914.46 contract with a company to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Ringling Boulevard and Orange Avenue in downtown Sarasota.

The work is expected to begin at the end of November, a city staff memo said, with a pre-construction meeting for the project set for Nov. 7.

In late April, Jan Thornburg, senior communications manager for the city, told The Sarasota News Leader, “The overall project should be completed in approximately 4 months (120 days).”

An Aug. 7 email from a Local Agency Program project manager with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) pointed out that the work should not be delayed until after high tourist season. Pushing back the beginning of the project to March or April 2018 “would put the City’s Federal funds at risk of being removed,” Charles R. Reed II wrote.

Reed was responding to an email from Richard Winder, Capital Improvement Program project coordinator with the city. In an Aug. 3 email, Winder explained to Reed, “There has been concern by City management as to the timeline of the project and its impact on downtown during the height of tourist season. Is there a possibility of delaying the start date until later, say early spring around the beginning of April?”

Although the funding for the roundabout will be provided by FDOT, through its Local Agency Program, and the Federal Highway Administration, the commission’s approval of the contract was a necessary step in the process, the city staff memo indicated.

Only two firms bid on the project, according to a document provided with the agenda for the Oct. 16 meeting: C-Squared Certified General Contractor of Sarasota and Wright Construction Group of Fort Myers. As the low bidder, C-Squared was awarded the contract.

Wright Construction Group’s bid was $1,130,780.12.

An engineering drawing shows facets of the landscaping plan for the new Orange Avenue roundabout. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

Although the city’s Purchasing Department handled the advertisement of the project and the bid award determination, FDOT and the Federal Highway Administration had to sign off on the recommendation to award the contract to C-Squared, as evidenced by a letter from John C. Abraham, Local Agency Program coordinator in FDOT’s District One office.

The city’s bid package for the roundabout specifies, “Construction, drilling, repair, alteration, demolition, land clearing or landfilling operations” may be pursued between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends or holidays, “provided that the equipment involved is operated in accord with the manufacturer’s specifications and with all manufacturer’s sound-reducing equipment in use and in proper operating condition.”

This roundabout will be the second on Orange Avenue in downtown Sarasota. The structure at the intersection of Main Street and Orange opened almost exactly a year ago. The planned completion date was Nov. 11, 2016. The intersection was closed at the end of July 2016 so the project could get underway.