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Jetty builders stir up trouble on Isle of Capri

The city gave contractors permission to use the Isle of Capri while building the John's Pass jetty. But noise and traffic problems made the city re-evaluate its friendly gesture.

By KATHY SAUNDERS

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 11, 2000


TREASURE ISLAND -- A contractor using an Isle of Capri site as a staging area for the John's Pass jetty project has unnecessarily disrupted the neighborhood and has to leave, city officials told the company Wednesday. The heavy machinery, boulders and dirt must be gone by June 21.

"We feel it is in the best interest of the city of Treasure Island to cancel our permission to use this site," City Manager Chuck Coward told commissioners Tuesday. "We gave them permission as a courtesy."

Durocher Dock & Dredge of Jacksonville has a contract to use vacant land near the Rock House on the west side of John's Pass Bridge. The contractors received approval from Agnes Rice to use her property while the jetty is being constructed.

But the contractors had problems hauling the rocks across the property and into the water.

As an alternative, the city allowed the contractors to dump the raw materials on the Isle of Capri property and haul it to the site on a barge.

The $1.3-million jetty, financed by the county and state, is expected to extend about 400 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. It is supposed to be topped with a 14-foot sidewalk and railings and used as a recreational pier for fishing and sightseeing.

Engineers are hoping the jetty or groin will stop erosion on Sunshine Beach and keep sand from collecting in John's Pass.

"We still very much support the project," Coward told commissioners.

But he said the city gave permission to the contractors to use the Isle of Capri site with several stipulations:

The contractors were not supposed to start dumping rocks and sand before 8:30 a.m. or after 5:30 p.m.

They were supposed to handle dust problems and direct traffic when the trucks dump their loads.

On the first day, trucks were dumping rocks on the site at 5:50 a.m., said City Public Works Director Don Hambidge. The second morning, the noise started at 7 a.m.

Residents also have complained about the dust. In the end, Hambidge said, "We've supplied the water so they could wet it down and keep the dust out."

Hambidge also said the dump trucks have been hauling rocks to the site without workers directing traffic. "I directed traffic for 25 minutes one morning," Hambidge said.

Repeated efforts to get the contractor to comply with the city's requests were unsuccessful, he told commissioners.

He gave the contractors a letter Wednesday giving them two weeks to vacate the site.

Project Superintendent Rick Alexander said he doesn't know how he will meet the Aug. 24 deadline for completion of the project without the use of the Isle of Capri staging area.

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